GA Prison Hunger Strike Continues, Families Protest, State Officials Stonewall, Feds Refuse to Intervene
By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
On Monday, July 16 about 70 people spent the afternoon in 97 degree heat outside the Forsyth GA headquarters of the state's Department of Corrections demanding to meet with its chief Brian Owens about his treatment of hunger striking prisoners at Jackson state prison.
“This is the thirty-sixth day of the hunger strike. Miguel Jackson and a number of other inmates including Shawn Whatley are starving for change. They have been beaten, they have been denied their visitation rights, they've been denied medical treatment....
“Those men in there are starving for change,” declared Rev. Kenneth Glasgow of The Ordinary Peoples Society. “When you have people who are willing to starve, something is definitely wrong. People just don't sacrifice their lives when nothing is wrong...”
Relatives of the striking prisoners, and others fingered by the state as leaders of the December 2010 prison strike were in the small crowd. Most had driven an hour south from Atlanta, and some had come from central Alabama.
“They have no rights to anything,” said the sister of Miguel Jackson. “We can't see them, we can't write to them, they are not allowed to brush their teeth or sleep on a bed... they need to be treated like human beings and not animals.... these prisoners have family out here who are willing to give them whatever they need... I don't know if they'll meet with us today, but we'll be back again and again as many times as it takes.“
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