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Struggle in Ohio

Struggle In Ohio

By Paul Wright

There have been 5 prisoners and one staff member (schoolteacher) killed at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio since 1990 rolled in. Governor Celeste ordered an investigation into all aspects of SOCF operations by the State Highway Patrol. The mainstream media only reported gang and drug activity as being targeted. This investigation was prompted by a yearlong investigation by the state legislatures prison watchdog committee, the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee as well as the nationwide hunger strike protesting conditions at SOCF. When the schoolteacher, Ms. Beverly Taylor was killed at the prison on June 7, 1990, guards and civilians picketed the prison calling for more staffing and better security. House Speaker Verne Rifle responded by appointing an 11 member select House Committee to investigate allegations of overcrowding, mismanagement and understaffing at SOCF. The House Committee investigation marks the third probe of Beverly Taylor's death, joining the SHP and CIIC.

In response to letters form all over the world, demanding that injunctive relief be ordered halting a lot of the conditions complained of at SOCF, United States District Judge S. Arthur Speigel asked the US attorney to have the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department investigate allegations of human rights violations at SOCF. A hearing seeking a preliminary injunction enjoining SOCF staff from using the high pressure fire hose on prisoners confined in the J-1 Super-Max control unit was held in Judge Spiegel's courtroom on June 21st and 22nd, 1990. Our attorney, Al Gerhardstein put Peter Davis, Executive Director of the CIIC on the stand, who gave testimony as to the widespread increase of prisoner complaints coming out of SOCF concerning the use of fire hoses and conditions. Then Ken Schoen, our expert witness testified that SOCF is the only prison to use fire hoses in the United States and that its use constituted cruel and unusual punishment. A decision will be forthcoming, but there is no doubt that we will get the injunction...

We are slowly making progress, chipping away at the prisoncrats foundation. We must continue to apply pressure through the courts, by writing politicians and by non-violent resistance. We must coordinate all efforts, as networking our tactics and actions is a necessity in order to gain the most ground. Any fellow or sister prisoners who would care to share their experiences and tactics, we welcome all advice. Write to:

John Perotti #167712
PO Box 56
Lebanon, OH 45036 USA

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