The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Ohio Prisoners Stage Hunger Strike, Win Demands

Jan 24, 2011

Three prisoners at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown, Ohio carried out a hunger strike for twelve days to protest inhumane conditions in which they were held. The three ended their strike when the prison warden agreed to their demands.

Bomani Shakur, Siddique Abdullah Hasan, and Jason Robb, along with a fourth inmate, Namir Abdul Mateen who could only participate partially in the hunger strike due to diabetes, have been held in solitary confinement for 17 years.

That amounts to medieval torture in the 21st century. The four had been thrown into solitary confinement after being sentenced to death. The state decided to make an example of them after prisoners revolted at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville against conditions there that already bordered on medieval.

The Lucasville hunger strikers, as the three are known, sought and won demands as simple as the right to have human contact with their families, to be allowed to purchase winter weight clothing, and a few hours of outdoor recreation each week.

The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world – higher than under any repressive, dictatorial, or torturing regime anywhere in the world. It is the mark of an inhumane society, just as is the barbaric punishment carried out in prison walls.