From Facebook Denis O'Hearn
Jan 6, 2011
in In Solidarity with the Lucasville Uprising Prisoners on Hunger Strike.
LETTER FROM BOMANI SHAKUR TO WARDEN BOBBY
Just back from a long drive through lake-effect snow.
I don't recommend it!
I am including (below) a letter that Bomani
Shakur wrote to Warden Bobby of OSP on the
commencement of his hunger strike. It is
important because it sets out the specific
demands of the hunger strikers, and you can refer
to these in your letters, emails, etc. to Warden
Bobby, Director of DRC Moore, and Chief Eleby of
Bureau of Classification, whose contact details
are at the end of this communication.
A few words of clarification. The real power lies
with Gary Moore, who was just appointed Director
of DRC by the new governor of Ohio (who starts
office tomorrow). Moore has a long record in the
prison service but is best known as Ohio's
foremost proponent of prison privatization.
Pressure on the warden and bureau chief are
important, but most people believe that the four
hunger strikers have been kept in isolation for
the past 12 years since OSP was built because
successive DRC Directors have wished it so. I am
sure many of you will have issues with Gary
Moore's privatization agenda but perhaps for this
reason he will want to avoid a big hunger strike
ruckus just when he is trying to get his agenda
going. In short, no better time to pile on the
pressure with letters, emails, etc.
Jason Robb made a few points in our visit today
that are worth repeating. The four were brought
into the new OSP supermax when it was opened in
1998. Soon, there were some five hundred others
in the facility (they built all those beds, now
they had to fill them). Of the five hundred, only
four – the four men now on hunger strike – are
still in supermax. Others have gone to reduced
security prisons (general population); some have
gone home; some have even gone home, reoffended,
come back to supermax, and worked their way again
to lower security. Yet only these four remain as
original supermax prisoners.
The men are told that they will remain
permanently in isolation until they are executed
because their original offense that led to their
committal to supermax means that they "pose a
threat to the safety and security of the Ohio
prison system." Yet their behavior has been very
good and they have never caused disruption to
OSP. By refusing them contact with other
prisoners, such as conjugate recreation, the
authorities give them no way of proving that they
are not a threat to the system.
Finally, I spoke with several legal experts over
the past week and they believe that by keeping
these men in isolation OSP is violating THREE
amendments on the US Constitution, so proudly
read aloud by the new Congress today. The lack of
meaningful review of their security placement
violates the Fifth Amendment right to due
process. The lack of access to legal resources
violates the Sixth Amendment right to meaningful
access to the courts. Long term isolation
violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition of
cruel and unusual punishment.
Letter from Keith Lamar (Bomani Shakur) to Warden
Bobby of Ohio State Penitentiary
3 January 2011
I'm writing to inform you that I am henceforth on
a hunger strike. After twelve years of what can
only be described as a double penalty, I am
respectfully requesting that you cease this
tortuous predicament that I am in. As a
death-sentenced prisoner, I should be allowed the
very same privileges as other similarly sentenced
prisoners, and this is all I am asking, nothing
more or less. Therefore, in spite of what your
personal feelings are, I hereby appeal to your
sense of professionalism and ask that you
seriously consider the following demands:
1. Full recreation privileges.
2. Full commissary privileges.
3. Full access to Access SecurePac catalog.
4. Semi-contact visits.
5. Access to computer database so that I can
assist in the furtherance of my appeals.
These things are presently being offered to all
death-sentenced prisoners and, again, I hereby
respectfully request that I be granted the same.
As you know, my appeals are fast approaching
resolution, moving me closer and closer to a day
of reckoning. Please allow me the opportunity to
pursue whatever my end will be with the same
level of dignity and respect that other similarly
situated prisoners enjoy. You have this within
your power to permit, and I ask that instead of
abusing your power that you use it justly, and soon. . .
Gary Moore, Director, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
770 West Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43222
614-752-1159 or email
William A. Eleby, Chief, Bureau of Classification
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
770 West Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43222
614-752-1106 or email
Warden, Ohio State Penitentiary
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Road
Youngstown, OH 44505-4635
330-743-0700 or fax 330-743-0841 or email