Saturday, January 08, 2011

Press conference on Georgia Prisons

Denis O'Hearn Jan 8, 2011

A press conference was held this morning in Atlanta GA to press for
changes in GA prisons. Here is the press release, please post.

10:30 a.m.
Georgia State Capitol
206 Washington Street
Atlanta, Georgia


Reports from Prison Visits
Set Off Coalition Appeal to DOC and Governor-Elect for More Access

The Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners' Rights, formed to
support the interests and agenda of thousands of Georgia prisoners
who staged a peaceful protest and work strike initiated early last
December, will host a press conference this Thursday. The mothers and
other family members of Terrance Dean and Miguel Jackson, inmates
reportedly brutally beaten by guards at Macon State and Smith State
Prisons in connection with the strike, will be in attendance.
The press conference follows reports of violent abuses of these men
and others and the findings of fact by Coalition delegations after
visits to two prisons in December. These reports have increased fears
of the targeting of and retaliation against inmates on account of
their peaceful protest for their human rights and raise the urgency
for immediate reform.

"These new developments have increased our fears and our legitimate
call for more access to inmates," said Elaine Brown, Co-Chair of the
Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners Rights.

Ed Dubose, Coalition Co-Chair and president of the NAACP of Georgia,
stated, "Family members are frantic and mothers are crying and
anguished after learning their loved ones have been badly injured. We
cannot allow those cries to go unanswered. Since the start of the
December 9 peaceful work stoppage and appeal for reform and respect
for human rights, some inmates have been targeted and others have
simply disappeared. We are urging the Department of Corrections and
Governor-Elect Nathan Deal to act now to halt these unjust practices
and treat these men like human beings."

Black, brown, white, Muslim, Christian, Rastafarian prisoners,
including those at Augusta, Baldwin, Calhoun, Hancock, Hays, Macon,
Rogers, Smith, Telfair, Valdosta and Ware State Prisons, joined a
peaceful work stoppage December 9, 2010, refusing to come out of
their cells as part of a petition to the corrections department.

Among concerns expressed by inmates were not being paid for their
labor; being charged excessive fees for basic medical treatments;
language barriers suffered by Latino inmates; arbitrary, harsh
disciplinary practices; too few opportunities for education and self
improvement; and unjust parole denials.

Coalition leaders attending the press conference will be Mr. Dubose,
Ajamu Baraka of the U.S. Human Rights Network, Pastor Kenneth Glasgow
of The Ordinary People Society, Chara Jackson of the ACLU of Georgia,
along with Abdul Sharrief Muhammad of the Nation of Islam.

The prisoners have been petitioning the corrections department for
their human rights, including wages for labor, decent health care and
nutritional meals, a halt to cruel and unusual punishments, and an
end to unjust just parole decisions.

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