Thread: Georgia prisons have descended into total COVID-19 related chaos. They have always been horrific, but since the onset of the pandemic, conditions have deteriorated to the point of serious constitutional crisis. Yesterday, @southerncenter asked the DOJ to intervene. 1/
Riots have erupted at multiple prisons. In the last 3 months, there have been large-scale riots at Ware & Macon State Prison. The disturbances occurred after incarcerated people were left locked in their cells, nearly 24/7, for weeks/months, often in reprehensible conditions. 2/
At Ware State Prison, local police were called into the prison. These officers, along with the GDC's tactical squads, reportedly went from dorm to dorm deploying tear gas & smoke bombs while shooting people with pepper ball guns and flash grenades. 3/
Homicides have reached unprecedented levels. Since January 1, 2020, 21 people have been killed in the Georgia prison system, with six of these homicides occurring at Macon State Prison over the course of just six months. These numbers are really, really horrifying. 4/
Suicides in Georgia prisons have also reached unprecedented levels; the result of extreme neglect of people with psychiatric disabilities. In the last 8 months, at least 19 incarcerated people have died by suicide, which is a rate twice the national average in state prisons. 5/
(About 30% of suicides in the GDC since the beginning of the year have occurred at Georgia State Prison, a prison that purportedly specializes in the housing and care of people with serious mental illness. Purportedly.) 6/
Understaffing in Georgia prisons has ALSO reached a crisis point. As of June, there was an officer vacancy rate of nearly 30%. Macon State Prison has an officer vacancy rate of 46.8%. Georgia State Prison has an officer vacancy rate of just over 50%. 7/
SCHR has REPEATEDLY brought these issues to the GDC's attention, and they have failed to respond in any meaningful way, jeopardizing the lives of incarcerated people and prison staff and resulting in widespread suffering and death. 8/
The Georgia Department of Corrections has wholly and utterly failed every single Georgian. Not just those locked in cages. All of us. The Georgia Board of Pardons & Paroles has also failed us. Georgians -- get MAD. Your taxes fund this torture.
Btw, Georgians — you can build solidarity with the folks experiencing these horrific conditions by joining @GAfreedomltrs and finding someone to write to inside! georgiafreedomletters.com
And here is a copy of @southerncenter's letter to the DOJ:

schr.org/wp-content/upl…

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More from @hannahcrileyy

3 Aug
I have been receiving very disturbing information from folks incarcerated in prisons across Georgia. Themes:
- 23 to 24 hour a day lockdowns
- no showers for weeks on end, no clean sheets or towels
- food so rotten that entire dorms get sick
- dramatically increased violence
Macon State Prison has had 6 (!!) murders so far this year. For some context, the entire state of Arizona had 1 murder in all of their prisons last year. In July alone, 4 people were murdered in Georgia prisons. ajc.com/news/crime/4th…
People have been fed moldy bologna (if prison food had a mascot, it would be moldy bologna) and peanut butter sandwiches with rat feces in them. Flooding/plumbing issues continue to plague every DOC building.

Yes, these conditions lead to uprisings.
Read 5 tweets
29 Jul
The federal government just announced plans to execute Lezmond Mitchell, the only Native American on federal death row, on August 26th. This is despite the opposition from the Navajo Nation, members of the victims' family, and the local prosecutor.
When the Federal Death Penalty Act was enacted, Congress promised that no Native American would be sentenced to die for a crime committed against another Native American or on Native American land, unless the tribe consents. The government, predictably, betrayed that promise.
The victims were also Navajo. The incident happened in the Navajo Nation, where the death penalty does not exist. To execute Mr. Mitchell (amid a pandemic!) would be more horrifying federal overreach.
Read 4 tweets
28 Jul
There is an escalating outbreak of COVID-19 at the Clayton County Jail, which the Sheriff refers to as the “toughest para-military jail in Georgia.” The declarations we’ve received from current and former detainees at the jail are keep-you-up-at-night horrifying. Thread:
WLM is 57 years old. Like everyone else at the jail, he stays in his cell at least 23 hours a day. Due to overcrowding, there are 3 people in 2 person cells. Someone sleeps on the floor near the toilet. When WLM arrived, he was put in a cell with a man who was already sick.
Here, he describes the anxiety and fear that come with being caged with someone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. He knew it was only a matter of time until he caught it.
Read 18 tweets
2 Mar
THREAD: Our client, John Lokos, loves to feed birds. He is 82. His Parkinson's causes his hands to shake constantly; his dementia makes it difficult to remember simple things, like where he lives; he has fainting spells & forgets to eat.
Our government is planning to deport him.
Mr. Lokos + his family fled Hungary in 1944, when he was 7. He has lived in the US since 1951. Mr. Lokos has experienced schizophrenia throughout his life. As a teen, he was committed to a psychiatric hospital + subjected to "treatments" like electroshock + insulin coma therapy
After leaving the hospital, Mr. Lokos became itinerant + addicted to alcohol. In 1963, he was arrested for murder in Alabama. After serving nearly a half-century in prison, he was paroled in 2009. He moved to Atlanta -- a city that is now, in every sense of the word, his home.
Read 10 tweets
2 Jul 19
Breaking: the Georgia Dept of Driver's Services is violating the Constitution in its treatment of Puerto Ricans. They require Puerto Ricans to undergo extra driver testing & force PR-born applicants to answer trick q's about PR. @southerncenter and @latinojustice are suing.
@southerncenter @latinojustice The plaintiff in our suit moved to Georgia with a valid Puerto Rico license. When he applied for a GA license, he gave DDS his birth certificate, social security card, and PR license. That was in 2017. It's been over 600 days, and he hasn't gotten a license OR his documents back.
@southerncenter @latinojustice Living in rural GA without a driver's license is HARD. Our plaintiff cannot find construction work w/o a license, & taking his infant daughter to doctor’s appointments, doing grocery shopping, having a social life, and much more is nearly impossible.
Read 11 tweets
9 Jan 19
Do you need some good news? Today, @southerncenter is announcing that we reached a settlement to reform one of the most sickeningly cruel solitary confinement units in the county. 1/
The 2 plaintiffs in the case were entombed in Georgia’s Special Management Unit for 7.5 and 10 years. A decade of solitary confinement. Can you imagine that? 2/
Many people were left in their tiny, dark, cells around the clock for MONTHS at a time. Just in 2017, there were two suicides. Most people in the unit had serious mental illnesses. 3/
Read 4 tweets

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