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Ohio Targets Activists as "Gang Members"

Ohio Targets Activists As "Gang Members"

By John Perotti

The Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (DORC) instituted a regulation prohibiting "gang related activity." This was implemented to fall in line with their overall intention to follow in the footsteps of California, Texas, Illinois and other states which have built "Super Max" prisons and focused on alleged "gangs" and "gang leaders" in prison. Ohio has gone so far as to manufacture gang members.

The DORC's latest tactic has been to target political activists and jailhouse lawyers for "gang related" charges when prisoners engage in lobbying the legislature. Danny Cahill, a political and prison activist working toward prison reform by lawful means such as lobbying the state legislature was charged with the infraction of "gang related activity" for advocating an Ohio Prisoner's Rights Union and receiving ACA (American Corrections Association) material from CURE (Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants). Cahill was placed in Local Control, six months of solitary confinement, for this at the Madison Correctional Facility. He began a hungerstrike in protest and after 38 days was transferred to Lebanon Correctional Institution.

We have drafted a citizens lobby letter protesting the implementation of a Supermax prison in Ohio along with a fact sheet. <%-2>Copies of these were made and sent, along with ABC proposals, to Danny at Lebanon. These items were confiscated and Danny was again infracted for "gang related activities" and placed in segregation. Danny again began a hunger strike and as of February 11, 1994, had fourteen days on it. He will refuse to eat until he is released form segregation.<%0>

The blatant political repression by use of a "gang related activity" rule infraction must be stopped. Litigation is pending but we call on all activists, inside and out, to take the time to write a protest letter regarding the distorted use of this rule and Danny Cahill's treatment. By the time this is printed he will be almost two months into his strike.

Protest letters should be sent to:
Governor George Voinavitch
Vern Riffe Center
77 South High St.
Columbus, OH. 43215

Reginald Wilkenson
Director, DORC
1050 Freeway Drive N.
Columbus, OH. 43229

[Editors Note: Danny Cahill is a PLN subscriber. His issues of PLN have been confiscated with no notice or reason provided to either him or PLN for the confiscation. It is obvious that he is being repressed for seeking peaceful change within the Ohio prison system. We have written to protest the censorship of PLN .]

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