Reports are coming out of Georgia that prison guards have retaliated with violence in response to the Georgia Prison strike that took place last month. According to Georgia State NAACP President Edward Dubose, inmates have been beaten with hammers and other foreign objects allegedly in retaliation for their participation in the strike. President Dubose says that one inmate has been beaten beyond recognition and another has suffered significant brain damage.
“They said they [officers] were hitting inmates with hammers,” Williams told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “They [guards] said an inmate was trying to escape.”
The Department of Corrections has remained stoic and silent on the matter, even to the point of denying that a prison strike ever took place. But advocates for inmate human rights have argued all along that the conditions in Georgia prisons are simply unacceptable.
“Family members are frantic and mothers are crying and anguished after learning their loved ones have been badly injured. We cannot allow those cries to go unanswered,” said President Dubose. “Since the start of the December 9 peaceful work stoppage and appeal for reform and respect for human rights, some inmates have been targeted and others have simply disappeared. We are urging the Department of Corrections and Governor-Elect Nathan Deal to act now to halt these unjust practices and treat these men like human beings.”
In the course of the strike, the inmates demanded access to education, better healthcare, fair parole decisions, the right to a fair wage for their work (which is currently unpaid), job training programs and an escape from cruel and unusual punishment. Although inmates are not paid for their labor, many of them are charged for routine healthcare and phone calls to their families. Some have argued that it is inconsistent for someone who is unpaid for their work to be expected to pay for prison services. In a conversation I had with President Dubose, he mentioned that there are reports of inmates even being forced to shine shoes for guards and give them haircuts, which he connects to a form of slavery.