Activists Across the World Deliver South Carolina Prisoner’s Demands to United Nations

Activists Across the World Deliver South Carolina Prisoner’s Demands to United Nations 

signal-2019-10-23-123246-01.jpg

[Organizers in Washington D.C. with D.C. Abolition Coalition and the D.C. Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee deliver the demands of South Carolina Prisoners to the local United Nations Office.]

Today, October 23, human rights activist in New York City, Washington DC, London, U.K., and Kingston, Jamaica are delivering a request for humanitarian intervention to the United Nations drafted by US prisoners in South Carolina. 

For years, prisoners and their families have been decrying the notoriously bad conditions within South Carolina prisons, as the US Department of Justice has demonstrated through reports and consent decrees with states in violation of basic human rights protections. However, this process has not produced notable improvements in prison conditions. 

The UN has been many steps ahead of the United States in its recognition of human rights globally, and prisoner’s rights in particular. The UN recognizes that solitary confinement is torture after 15 days, even though long-term solitary confinement remains common in the US. A recent study has suggested that any period of time in “restrictive housing,” increases the likelihood of a former prisoner’s death following their release. These are  common conditions throughout US prisons that have an impact on the brains of prisoners and impair their ability to survive. 

After the deadliest day in US prisons in a quarter century at Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina in 2018, prisoners led a call for a national prison strike against their repressive conditions. They issued ten demands, none of which have been met to date.

Beyond their national demands, there are certain conditions specific to South Carolina that are particularly repressive. The blocking of sunlight with metal plates, has been one of the key conditions that prisoners have decried in recent years. This practice combined with long lockdowns, the adding of meal slots in general population cell doors, denial of outdoor recreation, and limited access to showers, has produced solitary-like conditions across the whole of the general population at high security prisons in the state.

These practices deny the basic humanity of prisoners by the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC). These are the conditions that produced the violence at Lee Correctional Institution in 2018. They are reflected in this NBC News report about South Carolina prisoner Allen “AJ” Capers, which shows Capers being dragged out on to the yard and left to die by two SCDC guards. SCDC have produced a record high suicide rate. They led to the drowning of Sinetra Geter-Johnson’s baby in her prison cell, as guards neglected to help. In 2014, a Judge found that SCDC routinely violates basic rights of prisoners to mental health care. 

Prisoners have attempted to find support through the legislature, they’ve sought lawyers willing to sue over the conditions, and they’ve organized national protests. None of their calls have been heard. The conditions within South Carolina prisons continue to get progressively worse and hopelessness has set in, as reflected by the record numbers of deaths and suicides in recent years.   In Alabama, another state that has had similarly horrendous conditions, even a DOJ report and major coverage in national newspapers have not improved the conditions for prisoners. There is no reliable process for redress for human rights violations within the US system.

When incarcerated people can no longer find a basis for hope they struggle to see a path forward. South Carolina’s prison system has reached a breaking point, and right now it is breaking the mind, bodies, and spirits of human beings. Today, these prisoners have reached out to the world to urge international humanitarian intervention by the UN, in an attempt to ease the harsh conditions in South Carolina prisons. They take this step because they see no other path of redress.

Media Contact- Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons

FightToxicPrisons@gmail.com

+‪1 (504) 408-1312‬

 

IMG_20191023_113314_792.jpg

[Organizers in London, United Kingdom with the London Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee and Community Action on Prison Expansion attempt deliver the demands of South Carolina Prisoners to the local U.S. Embassy. They were turned away by armed guards but were able to pass out the below flyers to people standing in line for Visas.]

[Organizers in Washington D.C. with D.C. Abolition Coalition and the D.C. Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee deliver the demands of South Carolina Prisoners to the local United Nations Office.]

[Organizers in Washington D.C. with D.C. Abolition Coalition and the D.C. Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee deliver the demands of South Carolina Prisoners to the local United Nations Office.]


Want to help this effort? Call the South Carolina Department of Corrections and tell them we won’t rest until these demands are met! And then spread it around to all your friends!

Script Below:

SC-UN-Flyer.jpg

SC-UN-Flyer-Yellow.jpg

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s