ATLANTA - The NAACP is urging the Federal Bureau of Prisons to investigate treatment of prisoners during a peaceful strike at eleven prisons across Georgia.
Meanwhile, NAACP Georgia State Conference Chairman Edward Dubose held a press conference today at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta to urge Governor Sonny Perdue and Department of Corrections Commissioner Brian Owens to cease and desist from using violent tactics to force the prisoners to work. The Georgia State Conference is working with the newly formed Concerned Coalition to Respect Human Rights.
The prisoners’ peaceful protest began on December 9, 2010. They are petitioning the DOC for pay for their work, better educational opportunities, improved health care and nutritional meals, access to their families, a halt to cruel and unusual punishments, and just parole decisions.
The protest has drawn together thousands of black, Hispanic and white prisoners of all faiths. The prisoners have reportedly shut down all activity at Augusta, Baldwin, Calhoun, Hancock, Hays, Macon, Rogers, Smith, Telfair, Valdosta and Ware State Prisons.
According to reporters from prisoners the protests have remained non-violent, with prisoners refusing to leave their cells or perform their jobs, but the DOC has used violent measures to force the men back to work. At Augusta State Prison, several inmates were brutally ripped from their cells by CERT Team guards and beaten, resulting in broken ribs and one man beaten beyond recognition. At Telfair, the Tactical Squad roughed up prisoners and destroyed all their property. At Macon and Hays State Prisons, Tactical Squads have menaced the men for days, removing some to the “hole,” and the wardens have turned off heat and hot water.
The NAACP is asking for a peaceful resolution to the strike, and is urging the prison system to seriously consider the prisoners’ concerns.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.