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Direct Action in Ohio

by an Ohio Prisoner

In January of 1992, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) announced plans to build a federal prison in Columbiana County, Ohio. They planned to take over land owned and farmed by local families for generations.

Local farmers and working folks pulled together to oppose the prison. The BOP, devious as they are, countered by gathering petitions from surrounding counties in support of the prison. The citizens' opposition group hired counsel and a public relations firm to combat the BOP. After a protracted battle, BOP partially conceded and scaled the project back to 330 acres, from the 1,800 they had originally planned. The citizens' group continued to fight the project by utilizing environmental laws because the proposed site is a wetland.

However the BOP started to clear the land for construction. In early August construction was halted after hundreds of rounds of ammunition (.22) shells wrapped in foil with spikes inserted in the wrapping were discovered peppering the construction site. Heavy machinery or trucks rolling over these homemade mines would have damaged the construction machinery (and maybe a few BOPers).

[Editors Note : An FBI spokesperson said a preliminary investigation suggested "nothing more than vandalism." Construction was resumed, but not until after the construction contract was altered to provide a heftier budget for increased security.]

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