Healthy prisoners launch hunger strike on MLK Day to support tortured mental health prisoners – join the phone zap!

Written by on 01/19/2020

by Atlanta IWOC (Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee)

Sixteen folks incarcerated at Central Prison in Raleigh, N.C.,
are going on a hunger strike starting Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, as an act of
comradery to the 200 prisoners being tortured in Unit One, a mental health
unit. They need your help to make the calls on Monday, Jan. 20. And if you have
the time thereafter, call any other day you can until their demands are met and
those 16 hunger strikers can eat again.

In Unit One at Central Prison, guards are daily using
chemical mace against both Level 2 mental health prisoners, who receive
psychiatric help, and Level 3 mental health prisoners, who take psychotropic
medications. Guards are trigger happy and deploy an excessive amount into the
prisoner’s small cell at the slightest disagreement.

According to North Carolina Department of Correction Policy Chapter
: “An officer is prohibited from using force solely as a result of
verbal provocation. An officer shall not use force against an offender who has
abandoned his/her resistance or who is effectively restrained. The use of force
as punishment is strictly prohibited.”

Furthermore, these prisoners attend a group therapy session
every Monday, but while they are in the session, Unit One’s guards destroy the
cells of these prisoners by searching their cells and throwing their personal
belonging all around the cell. This is done to deter the prisoners from
attending the group sessions, discouraging them from receiving treatment.

Medical staff continue to show deliberate indifference to
the needs of the prisoners housed on Unit One. Several prisoners are not
receiving their self-meds, medications given out monthly that prisoners keep in
their cells, such as for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. To receive
these meds, the prisoner submits a medication refill request. The medical staff
has neglected to submit the requests therefore leaving several prisoners
without their meds.

It takes months just to be seen by medical staff when a sick
call is submitted. Prisoners are not receiving adequate healthcare. Prisoners
are compelled to endure illnesses for months before being seen by medical

This medical neglect and excessive use of force towards the
most vulnerable population in Central Prison is cruel and unusual torture and a
human rights violation.

These 16 brave and selfless activists imprisoned in Central
Prison are taking a stand, by way of a hunger strike, for those in Unit One who
are mentally incapable of making these demands. This is a humanitarian display
of unity for those inside who face injustice by the very same people who face
injustices enslaved right there with them.

This solidarity is inspiring. Please help them to expose
these human rights violations and meet their basic, humanitarian demands by
joining the phone zap and calling in to amplify their voices!

Suggested script and

I am aware that Central Prison’s guards and medical staff
are directly torturing the prisoners and there are 16 hunger strikers exposing
these human rights violations who will not eat until the following issues are

1. End the excessive use of chemical mace on prisoners who
have not been a threat to staff or others.

2. Stop the targeted searches of mental health prisoners who
attend weekly group on Unit One. We know that this is an attempt to discourage them
from receiving treatment.

3. Address the deliberate indifference shown by medical
staff not refilling prisoners’ self-meds and neglecting to answer sick calls in
a timely manner.

Who to call

1. Call 919-733-0800 Central Prison. Request to speak with
Deputy Warden Steven Waddel, Unit One Manager Tenbrook and/or medical

2. Call 919-838-4000 Department of Public Safety (DPS)
Office. Request to speak with Commissioner Todd Ishee and/or Dr. Gary Junker.

Hot tips

You don’t have to give your name or any other information if
you don’t want to.

Entering *67 before any number may block your caller ID.

Don’t worry about anyone giving you the runaround, not
getting through or having to leave a message. Just pursue it to the point that
you can. We are calling to apply pressure and every call counts.

Please report back on calls by emailing or by visiting the IWOC Phone Zap directly at

Atlanta IWOC can be reached at and you can follow Atlanta IWOC on Facebook.

Source: San Francisco Bay View

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