Posts tagged Murder

Clemency Denied

The Board of Pardons and Paroles has denied clemency for Brandon Rhode.  Please continue to voice your opposition to Rainbow Medical Associates.  Vigils will be held around the state, please see the GFADP website for more information regarding a location in your area.

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Violent Eruptions

Do you have a family member incarcerated in GA?  We’ve been getting reports of violence from several prisons run by the good ol’ folks Georgia Department of Corrections (as well as their county relations).  Unfortunately the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Creative Loafing, the Sunday Paper and the Macon Telegraph haven’t picked up the stories- not that the officers report the events themselves.  And inmates have too little a voice.  This is a challenge we face and also part of the reason we started the Georgia Prisons blog.  We’ve heard from people with family at a few different locations lately.

* Autry has had significant and very dangerous gang violence over the past few weeks, but; a nurse who had been a problem is no longer there.  She has moved on to Chatham County Jail where she continues to cause problems for those being housed there.

* Dooly is infested with gangs and drugs and both have brought the place to heightened levels of violence which is disturbing to inmates who have been locked up for years and say that they’ve not seen it this bad in a while.

* Hays was the scene of a total shake down on Sunday, September 12th and a number of inmates were plasti-cuffed while around a half dozen officers were cuffed.  Later it was learned that at least 3 officers had been arrested.  This was a coordinated effort by both federal and state agencies according to family members who witnessed part of it.

*  Smith has endured increasing violence over the past few months.  The G building was the site of a particular incident that required a medical helicopter and ultimately was the death of one.  The place was locked down Friday and small groups were escorted to eat dinner making it close to midnight before many ate (Fridays are lunch free days, by the way).  The Tact squad appeared today and broke ear phones of one guy who had been told to hold onto a TV remote by a guard.  Another inmate received a new pair of shoes yesterday only to have them sliced by the Tact squad today because they found two cigarettes in his box.  He asked why they were slicing his shoes and the Tact squad attempted to have him given a DR for masturbation while looking at a female officer.  This was not done, however; the guy did get taken away for a majority of the day.  Countless inmates received DRs for the first time in years today simply because of the Tact squad.

* Alto has been very much on edge since tobacco was removed from their facility in August. The tension levels are becoming too much for some to handle. The same can be said for Macon State (and likely others though we have not heard directly from them).

* Calhoun has been the place of gang violence at alarming levels.  Sunday evening Gangster Disciples went off on one of their members with such brutality that he began to seize.

The budget cuts have been devastating to inmates for many reasons.  They have seen less and less food on their plates and the quality constantly calls to question why the FDA is not regulating it.  Any programs that remain are being cut- education/ GED programs and classes are all hanging on by a thread.  The consolidation of prisons means that the already overcrowded prisons are bursting at the seams.  Add to that the fact that fewer and fewer employees are on duty makes the above mentioned violent incidents more frightening because of the lack of ability to obtain/ maintain control over any situation.

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Sunday Paper Reports on Death Row Conditions

Charles Stanley of the Sunday Paper has written a piece regarding the recent changes to the treatment of inmates on GA’s Death Row (which the Department of Corrections has stated have NOTHING to do with the murder of Timothy Pruitt and the suicide of Leeland Braley).  Stanley has done a good job of covering the issue and expressing how very detrimental this is to both inmates and family members.  The sister of Troy Davis speaks out about other frustrations visitors meet which have caused many to cut back already.

Read the article here.

If you haven’t already please be sure to fax and mail a letter to the Department of Corrections letting them know that this inhumane behavior is unacceptable.  You can find a sample letter on the GFADP website. This letter is also posted on our site in the box on the right hand side where you may find additional documents.

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Timothy Pruitt’s Death in the News

Stephen Gurr of the Gainesville Times has written an article regarding the investigation of the so-called suicide of Timothy Pruitt.  Pruitt was found in his cell in November and after time in a coma passed away in December 2009.  His death was called a suicide by the Department of Corrections, however; common belief has been that Jerry Jones murdered Pruitt.

Read the article here.

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Urgent Action Request from SCHR

Kathryn Hamoudah, Public Policy Associate from the Southern Center for Human Rights has issued the following call to action (thank you to our friends who provided this to Georgia Prisons!):

Friends,

As you may know, the Department of Corrections has recently instituted a series of stringent measures on the men on death row, including the complete removal of contact visits and limiting the men to their cells 23 hours per day. Furthermore, the men are subjected to strip searches, including cavity searches after coming off the block. It has also come to the public’s attention that some men have been stripped naked and forced to remain in their cells without adequate bedding or heat.
According to the DOC, these measures are not a response to the recent violence, though no other explanation for such severe measures has been offered. In response, some of the men living on the row are on a hunger strike.

In response, please send a letter by mail or fax ASAP to Commissioner Brian Owens, urging him to restore contact visits immediately and eliminate the use of inhumane and degrading practices in order to serve the interests of human rights and dignity.

Best,

Kathryn

Hamoudah has provided a sample letter to be sent:

January 26, 2010

Brian Owens, Commissioner

Georgia Department of Corrections

2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SE

Twin Towers-East, Room 854

Atlanta, Georgia 30334

VIA FACSIMILE 404.656.6434

Dear Commissioner Owens:

The Department of Corrections is charged with the very important task of working to protect and serve the citizens of Georgia. I have no doubt of the complexity of this feat. However, I come to you today with grave concerns about the current conditions at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson.

As of January 1, 2010, the prison has eliminated all contact visits between death row inmates and their families and clergy. In addition, the men on Death Row are under twenty-three hour lock down; allowing only one hour for phone calls, showers, and time in the yard. Furthermore, the men are subjected to strip searches, including cavity searches after coming off the block. It has also come to the public’s attention that some men have been stripped naked and forced to remain in their cells without adequate bedding or heat. The unusual cold snap that has swept the state deepens the severity and inhumanity of these current practices. I understand that the recent deaths of Timothy Pruitt and Leeland Mark Braley led to the Department’s implementation of such measures designed to restrict movement in a way that would facilitate a safer environment, but I believe these actions are quite harmful now and in the future. The families and friends of those who have visitation privileges adhere to all prison policies. Individuals who do not comply with the rules should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Loved ones should not be at the receiving end of any internal problems within the prison. The elimination of no-contact visits is the latest and most severe of what has been a systematic depletion of privileges that create a balance for those on death row.

Abolishing contact visits creates problems across the board. It
compromises privileged conversations with clergy and pastors and private visits with family and loves ones which nurture family values, personal responsibility, and a safe environment for all. I am deeply troubled that as a result of the implementation of non-contact visits and the uncomfortable conditions for those visiting their loved ones; some of the men have asked their family members not to visit. Visitation and nurturing relationships with family, friends, clergy and other support people are essential not only to the humanity of those in prison and but also in preserving and promoting prison safety. I fear that conditions will worsen if contact visits are not restored.

I appreciate your consideration of these concerns. I believe this is an
urgent matter and I implore the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification
Prison in Jackson to restore contact visits immediately and eliminate
the use of inhumane and degrading practices in order to serve the
interests of human rights and dignity.

Thank you for your kind consideration.

Sincerely,

We hope that all of our readers (as well as those who reach us via Twitter) will take on this call to action.  We challenge each of you to spread the word and to encourage friends, family, etc. to join in this important action!


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No More Contact Visits on Death Row

Georgia’s death row inmates came have seen a number of changes within the last few months.  In addition to the murder of Timothy Pruitt (our sources report that security cameras show Jerry Jones, another death row inmate entering Pruitt’s cell just prior to his body being discovered) Leeland Braley committed suicide and his body was discovered on New Year’s Day.

According to the GA Department of Corrections these incidents have absolutely nothing to do with contact visits being taken away.  Not only have contact visits been taken away, death row inmates have also been restricted to their cells for 23 out of 24 hours each day.  That means that within the one hour during which they are allowed out of their cells inmates are to amongst other things, shower and use the telephone.  Whether this time out of the cell is during time when inmates might be able to call their attorney during business hours or family members when they would be awake/ at home is unknown.  This is simply another inhumane method of treatment implemented by the state.

The state says this is not a method by which to address recent incidents of violence.  We wonder what the state is doing to prevent further suicides and murders.

In the mean time death row inmates who threatened hunger strike upon implementation of the no contact visitation rule (and other new visitation policies) appear ready to take action.

The visitation policies which have changed for death row inmates include limitation of approved visitors to a dozen, only one of which may be a non-family member.  Additionally, Jackson is one of the first to implement the state’s new tobacco free policy.  Inmates and visitors alike report, however, that guards continue to smoke on prison grounds as well as inside the prison buildings, in spite of this policy which states that they, too, are to remain tobacco free while on premises.

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Death Row Inmate Killed

Just prior to Thanksgiving 2009 Georgia Death Row inmate Tim Pruitt was severely injured and was hospitalized.  Weeks after his attack, shortly after being transferred to August State Medical Prison, Pruitt died.  While the initial response to his death from the Department of Corrections was that it was suicide, friends, family and fellow inmates confirm that it was a murder.  The current word from the Department of Corrections is that Pruitt’s death is under investigation.  The AJC and several other news outlets have covered this story. Below are a few of the many reports.

Initial Reports and follow up and information became available:

From the Gainesville Times

From the AJC

Another AJC

Hunger Strike

Investigation

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