“At no time during or after this incident did the facility lose power,” the Georgia Department of Corrections said in a statement that neglected to address the conditions leading up to the incident or the allegation that electricity to the prisoners’ cells was being purposely shut off.
“Thank God for the illegal telephones, because if we didn’t have the illegal telephones, we would continue to be lied to,” said Minister Dwight Futch, who organized a protest for prisoners’ families outside the Atlanta parole board office in the days following the violence.
Futch, who has seen both sides as a former guard and prisoner, noted that the abuses at Ware are not unique and are happening at other facilities across the state. “When your prison goes up in smoke, that means it’s time for some changes,” he said, “because that means there’s something you did not do.”
Two protestors whose husbands are currently incarcerated at Ware said the deplorable conditions inside the prison had carried on for some time, and neither had received word from their husbands since before the violence erupted.
“I don’t even know if he has a scratch on his leg from all this going on,” Shinaviya Blackwell told 11Alive.
While the coronavirus pandemic has helped bring to light inhumane treatment in prisons nationwide, it has done so only by making bad situations even worse. An email to TV station 11 Alive from a viewer whose son is at Ware detailed the absence of health precautions or treatment.
“Since COVID started they haven’t been given any hand sanitizer, masks to wear, one of the inmates that passed away was in my son’s dorm. They treat them inhumane,” she wrote. “My son was put in a holding cage because of a seizure for hours and no one checked on him.”
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