Incarcerated Prison Strike Leader’s Life Endangered by Hostile and Negligent Prison Officials

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Incarcerated Prison Strike Leader’s Life Endangered by Hostile and
Negligent Prison Officials

(Harvest, AL) – February 22, 2017 – Aggressive actions and negligence
over the past three months by Alabama prison officials have led to a
rapid decline in the health of Kinetik Justice.

Robert Earl Council, a.k.a. Kinetik Justice, is a leading prison
organizer with the Free Alabama Movement. He was convicted of capital
murder by an all white jury for killing a man in self-defense in the
early 90s. He has been highly politically active, and played crucial
leadership roles in several acts of resistance in the last two years,
most notably the nationwide prison strike that began on September 9th,
2016.

Kinetik’s most recent ordeal began with the “suicide” of Robert Deangelo
Carter at Alabama’s Holman Correctional Facility on October 10, 2016. On
that date Kinetik appears to have tweeted about the incident, “WE
SCREAMED, WE KICKED, WE BANGED BUT NO ONE EVER CAME- in spite of telling
the CERT TEAM4 times- He just HANGED.” Immediately after this, Kinetik
was moved 100 miles away, to Kilby Correctional Institute, a facility
notoriously referred to by prisoners and their supporters as a “bully
unit.” Monique Gillum, policy strategist at the Southern Poverty Law
Center, went to Kilby on October 12, 2016 to meet with Kinetik as part
of her investigation of what the Alabama Department of Corrections
referred to as Carter’s “apparent suicide.” Kilby staff simply told
Gillum that Kinetik was not there.

Kinetik was moved again on October 21, 200 miles further, to Limestone
Correctional Facility. In protest of his unsafe conditions, Kinetik
commenced a hunger strike: “I made it explicitly clear to officers at
Limestone CF that due to exigent circumstances, I felt my life was  in
danger… Due to my expressed fear and my inability to see if my food was
being tampered with, I began a ‘Hunger Strike Protest’ in order to bring
attention to Limestone CF’s disregard for my safety and well being,” he
says, in a letter dated November 5.

Kinetik notified Pastor Kenneth Glasgow (FAM spokesperson and founder of
“The Ordinary People Society”) that on October 27th, he informed a Nurse
Haynes that the medical staff was failing or refusing to comply with the
federally mandated policy regarding Hunger Strikes. Bureau of Prisons
Program Statement P5562.05 requires, among other things, checking the
health vitals and psychological state of persons on hunger strike. Nurse
Haynes replied, “You are doing this to yourself, so don’t complain.”

On October 30th, Kinetik was found unconscious and non-responsive in his
cell. Kinetik was taken to the infirmary, where a very low Blood Sugar
Count of 52 was determined to be the cause. Medical staff with Corizon
Correctional Healthcare administered glucose and an Ensure drink in
order to raise his Blood Sugar Count above 96. This forcible feeding
“reset” Kinetik’s hunger strike against his will, whereby according to
the BOP policy he would not have to be checked for another 72 hours. The
next day, Warden Gordee ordered a still severely dehydrated Kinetik to
be placed in a “day cell” for observation. Day cells have no running
water except for that in the toilet, no blanket, clothes, personal
items, or reading material. By the order of a Dr. Robbins he was not to
have his blood sugar checked unless he was “out of it.”

On December 2, at approximately 8:45 p.m., while in handcuffs and on the
way to the showers, Kinetik was shoved to the floor and pushed into a
janitor’s closet by a CO Shoulders. Once inside the closet, Shoulders
began choking Kinetik, while asking (rhetorically), “You gonna tell I&I
on me too?” Then a CO Dozier said, “Hold up Shoulders, hold up,” reached
around him and sprayed over half a can of mace directly into Kinetik’s
eyes, nose, ears, and mouth. The spray was so strong that Shoulders got
up off of Kinetik coughing. Both officers ran out of the closet, leaving
Kinetik laying on his back in a corner choking, and then called for
backup. This entire incident was witnessed by 3 people already in the
showers. Rather than reprimand the 2 officers, their supervisor, a Sgt.
Whitfield, refused to let Kinetik make a phone call or file a complaint
against the CO’s, and again placed him in a “day cell” where he remained
hidden for 5 days.

Despite all this, according to a recent visitor, “He’s quite an
inspiration. Been in isolation for 37 months, has to wear shackles and
belly chain during ‘exercise,’ but still strong and able to smile.”

Kinetik has filed repeated grievances to ensure his health and safety.
FAM and IWOC (the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee) call this
an example of complete lack of regard by prison officials for people’s
safety, and demand that he be relocated from Limestone Correctional
Facility.

ABOUT

The Free Alabama Movement is part of a network of groups whose objective
is to provide online content, educational material, and support to
family members, activists, and other organizations in furtherance of our
efforts to connect the “FREEDOM MOVEMENT”, which is the National
Movement Against Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery, to Alabama,
Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas in the South, and
California and Illinois. We promote legislation that is drafted by the
men and women on the inside in each State in a document we call our
“FREEDOM BILL”, with an emphasis on Education, Rehabilitation and
Re-Entry Preparedness.

The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee supports prisoners’
efforts to build their own labor union and organize for their own
self-defense against inhumane treatment. We function as a liaison,
building bridges between inside and outside to support prisoners
organizing their local chapters. We advocate the abolition of
incarceration, white supremacy, and capitalism.

Contact:
Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee
iwoc@iww.org
302-404-IWOC(4962)
http://www.iwoc.noblogs.orgf-a-m-bw

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