Press Contacts :
At approximately 2 AM on February 28th, 2019, thirty inmates at St. Clair Correctional Facility were awoken and told without explanation that they were being transferred over 200 miles away, to Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama. Among this group all 30 were sent to Holman CF, and placed in the Solitary Housing Units (SHU). Twenty – two of which were removed from St. Clair population.
Those placed in the SHU received a document from the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) explainig that they were not being placed in solitary confinement following any disciplinary measures, but rather as a ‘preventative’ measure. The document stated: “You will remain in Restrictive Housing in Preventative status for peace and tranquillity of the institution as directed by Institution Coordinator Price.”
This is alarming seeing as multiple of these men were involved with inside organizations promoting peace in the institution, including Convicts Against Violence and the Free Alabama Movement.
On Saturday March 16th, activists from a non-profit advocacy group called Unheard Voices OTCJ received a written statement from a group of men who were amongst those transferred to Holman and held in solitary with no infraction or violation of institutional rules. The statement announced that starting on March 18th, 2019, at 12:01 AM, the group will begin a unified hunger strike in protest of being held in solitary without just cause.
The list of men participating in said strike are as follows :
Kotoni Tellis AIS# 223155,
Marcus Lee AIS# 175056,
Mario Avila AIS# 259514 ,
Corey Burroughs AIS# 207639,
Earl Taylor 3rd AIS# 168616,
Tyree Cochran AIS# 172306,
Earl Manassa AIS# 175099,
Antonio Jackson AIS# 246560.
In response to the actions of the ADOC’s commissioner Jefferson Dunn and regional director Cheryl Price, these men state that they will remain on hunger strike until they are placed back into general population, so that they can continue normal institutional programs and privileges as do their peers.
Meanwhile, the hunger strikers’ loved ones and community members are mobilizing outside support, and more folks are expected to join the strike.