Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ohio Super Max Prisoner Resumes Hunger Strike

Contact: Ben Turk
Phone: 330-333-0826

Sunday June 3rd, 2012, Youngstown- Last week Cornelius Harris, a
level 5 prisoner at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) resumed the May Day
hunger strike, in protest of the warden's slow response to the
prisoner's demands. It is unknown when Mr. Harris began refusing
food, how many consecutive meals he has refused, and whether or not
other prisoners have joined Mr. Harris's hunger strike. OSP's warden,
David Bobby refused to comment or make any statement about Mr.
Harris's situation or condition, including how many meals he has refused.

Mr. Harris says that Warden Bobby has "found a way to twist this
hunger strike around to his favor by asking for more funding for
programs and material that a level 5 prisoner will never see". Mr.
Harris issued the following list of grievances.

- Warden Bobby has failed to keep his promise to address outrageously
high commissary prices.
- Lack of recreational material like exercise or sporting equipment,
even though there is money in an "I+E" fund earmarked for these materials.
- Low quality and lack of variety in television and movie programming.
- Phone calls, level 5 prisoners are demanding weekly phone calls to
home, rather than monthly.
- handcuffs on visits, prisoners are required to wear handcuffs in
front of visiting loved ones, even though they are separated by
bullet proof booths.

Up to 45 prisoners participated in a week long hunger strike from
Monday April 30 to Monday May 7th, in solidarity with the
international worker's holiday, May Day. According to Mr. Harris,
Warden Bobby has "breach[ed his] commitment" to the issues discussed
at the end of this hunger strike, so he has resumed striking and vows
"not to come off until everything pertaining to our issues are
addressed and resolved." Another prisoner, who knows Mr Harris has
stated that he's a very serious man, and will "most likely be on this
hunger strike for weeks". A full statement by Mr Harris can be found


The May Day hunger strike was the 2nd mass hunger strike at OSP this
year. Dozens of prisoners at Red Onion State Prison, Virginia's super
max prison are also currently on a hunger strike that started May
22nd. Last year thousands of prisoners in California's SHU and super
max prisons went on a series of hunger strikes protesting their
conditions and the gang debriefing process used by CDCR. There are an
estimated 20 to 25 thousand prisoners held in super max prisons
across the us. These prisons confine people for up to 23 hours a day
in single cells the size of the average bathroom, often for years on end.

Supporters of Mr. Harris can write him letters at the following address:
Cornelius Harris 525-945
Ohio State Penitentiary
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd
Youngstown, OH 44505

People can also call, email or write the Warden at the following addresses:
Warden David Bobby
Ohio State Penitentiary
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd
Youngstown, OH 44505
(330) 743-0700 ext. 2006

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