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SOCF Chronology

[Editor's Note: (May 1, 1993) What follows is a chronology of events as they unfolded at Lucasville, Ohio, during the April uprising at that facility. It was written by a Lucasville segregation prisoner who wasn't an actual part of the riot, but who was close enough to witness many of the events as they unfolded. This is an on-the-scene and under-the-gun report by a prisoner who is denied access to newspapers, magazines, radio or television.]

"There is not a single penal institution or reformatory in the United States where men are not tortured `to be made good,` by means of the black-jack, the club, the strait-jacket, the water-cure, the 'humming bird' (an electrical contrivance run along the human body), the solitary, the bull ring, and starvation diet."

Emma Goldman wrote the above quote 80 years ago. While some of the methods have changed, it's obvious that the behavior modification techniques have only gotten worse. Guard-on-prisoner brutality, murdering prisoners, denying adequate medical care, pitting prisoner against prisoner, trickology, deprivations of this or that, new policies every day (you can have this today but tomorrow it's contraband and next week it isn't), insults, lies and so on.

All of this has been routinely practiced at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) for some 21 years. The prisoncrats continued to treat us like animals while the bourgeois media plays into the propaganda that we are violent beasts who deserve nothing except total oppression. Finally, the day has come when we have exhibited the "animal" in us. What follows is a preliminary report of the overthrow. The "causes" are self-apparent from some of the demands made.

April 11, 1993, at 3:30 pm: SOCF prisoners have taken hostages on the L-Side prison wing, which consists of eight separate cellblocks and a gymnasium. The entire L-Side is under the control of prisoners. Those who did not participate in the takeover went through the gymnasium, into the yard, and over to K-Side wing. Twenty-three ambulances arrived to remove the dead that were stacked in the prison yard. SWAT teams, Ohio National Guard, City Police and the Ohio State Highway Patrol swarm in and out of the prison gates. Helicopters sweep the prison roofs, capturing those prisoners loose on the compound and roofs. Rumor has it that 3 guards and an estimated 50 prisoners (mostly those who were known informants) are dead.

April 12, 1993: Transport buses enter the compound to transfer prisoners on K-Side to different prisons, making room for L-Side prisoners once they surrender. Approximately nine guards are held hostage, divided into three groups in three separate areas of the L-Side prison wing. Prisoner bodies continued to be stacked outside the gymnasium for the ambulances. Prisoners have been seen to hang from the railings of some of the second ranges of the cellblocks. Negotiations begin. Some prisoners have been seen with their hands up while on the prison roofs, apparently surrendering.

April 13, 1993: Ohio State Highway Patrol helicopter crashes while landing. Prison guards surround the prison perimeter with shotguns. More ambulances come and go, removing dead prisoners. SWAT and National Guard knock a prison cellblock wall down with a bulldozer in an attempt to free hostages. The cellblock was empty. Prisoners left in one cellblock on K-Side begin to riot, protesting inadequate food. Prison guards tear gas the cellblock and leave. SWAT and National Guard landed on the roof of an administrative segregation cellblock with weapons, tripods, etc. Prisoners in three segregation cellblocks set ranges on fire, destroy light fixtures, assault prison guards. Helicopters continue to sweep the prison roofs searching for prisoners. All prisoners on K-Side, except for Death Row and the previously mentioned cellblock, have been transferred. Death toll of prisoners continues.

April 14, 1993: Helicopters grounded; rainy and windy day. Prisoners in the SuperMax segregation unit riot and are removed and separated.

April 15, 1993: Spotlights are shined on L-Side; guards are on prison roofs with weapons, signaling each other. They remain on roofs until following day.

April 16, 1993: Legal mail and a few letters are delivered to prisoners in segregation. Standoff continues.

April 17, 1993: L-Side prisoners enter L-8 cellblock, closing windows and breaking them out. Guards in segregation unit flash shotguns; prisoners in L-8 flash their middle finger at guards. Thirty-two Army trucks enter compound. Helicopters continue to circle prison while ambulances come and go.

April 18, 1993: Standoff continues. Holes drilled in roofs of L-Side cellblock--microphones dropped in.

April 19, 1993: A list of 21 demands are sent out. Negotiating teams agree to all demands and stated over a bullhorn to each block (all night long) that mail and visit policies will be upgraded; no retaliation by guards; attorneys will be provided for all involved; FBI will monitor SOCF; food service upgraded; medical standards will be upgraded; the removal of Unit Management will be "reviewed;" better jobs will be provided; American Correctional Association standards will be implemented; prisoners will sit as advisors for prisoners on disciplinary hearings; integration of prisoners in cells will not be enforced; commissary prices will be reduced; close security prisoners will be removed from SOCF; prisoners wanting transfers to other prisons in Ohio will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis; inter-state transfers will be reviewed via case-by-case; transfers to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons will be reviewed per request of prisoners seeking such; and those involved [in takeover] will immediately be transferred out of SOCF. These are the only ones I could hear on the bullhorn. Pigs stated on the bullhorn that the list of demands had been agreed to and signed (I don't know who signed them).

April 20, 1993: Have not heard anything new except three prisoners came walking out but brought no hostages with them. There is something like 600 prisoners involved (at least that's what we heard). A letter dated April 12, 1993, from another prisoner indicated that all Ohio prisoners are locked down.

April 22, 1993, Update: Eleven guards were held hostage as of 4-11-93 [Names of guards are being omitted due to space.] Three hours after the riot jumped off two guards were released. Guard Vallandingham was hung from his ankles from a cell tier range, mutilated, then hung from his neck until he died. Two other guards were killed but it's being kept quiet. A undisclosed number of inmates were killed--family members said the bodies were wrapped in bed sheets. This whole thing started over TB tests, which lead on to the 21 demands being made.

Thirty-six F.B.I. agents on scene with 500 national guards. The Correctional Institution Inspection Committee (appointed by the Ohio Legislature to oversee prison conditions in Ohio) claimed they had no knowledge of fucked up conditions, racial tensions by guards, etc. Yet I personally wrote them a letter and told them that guards brutalized prisoners and recently beat me, and that by allowing them to continue they were handling a time bomb. They totally ignored my letter then denied knowledge of increased tension to the media.

Prisoners surrendered on April 22, 1993, in groups of twenty with their hostages. Six-hundred prisoners were involved. These prisoners were taken to the gymnasium, finger printed (probably for future prosecution), strip searched, then placed on K-Side in Max Lockdown. L-Side wing is to be destroyed (like it already is!) and rebuilt to resemble something like Super Max lockdown (mini-Marion, Illinois). As of this writing, guards haven't taken count of prisoners since the 11th. Last night (4-21-93) guards tear-gassed L-Side after prisoners surrendered, to make sure nobody was left. At night, all during this shit, prisoner bodies were loaded on buses (I guess so the media couldn't get hip). One prisoner tried to protect a guard and help him escape, but the prisoner was busted and wasted.

Our warden issued a memo to all guards that no retaliation is to be taken against any prisoners. No exact figure on prisoner body count. L-5 cellblock was the execution chamber--snitches were wiped out. Entire L-Side destroyed. Yesterday we heard doors being knocked out. One snitch inmate refused to come out of his cell to be executed so they went in and chopped his head off.

This riot was not racially motivated; Black and White prisoners united and made sacrifices for us. Muslim prisoners and Aryan Brotherhood prisoners along with just white/black prisoners joined.

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