FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2019
Swift Justice & Nyesha Jones: Unheardvoices78@gmail.com
Mei Azaad: Fighttoxicprisons@gmail.com
Alabama Prison Hunger Strike Spreads to Limestone Correctional Facility
On Monday, March 26, the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) transferred a confined citizen, Kenneth S. Traywick, to Limestone Correctional Facility, where he was placed in solitary confinement under ‘observation’. Upon arrival at Limestone CF, Traywick began a hunger strike in protest of his unwarranted solitary confinement. This follows multiple waves of recent hunger strikes by prisoners in Alabama, all protesting the same issue, and all exposing the ADOC’s patterns of retaliation and abuse.
Traywick is currently housed in Limestone CF’s ‘C Block’, which has been illegally transformed from general population into segregation housing. This exhibits the ADOC’s continued use of solitary confinement to silence organizers and advocates for peace on the inside. Those now located in the C Block include Kenneth Traywick, as well as 8 people who were transferred from Holman Correctional Facility, and a growing number of people being relocated from other prisons. As far as we know, none of these individuals have disciplinary charges or infractions.
Moreover, Traywick’s case is unique in that he was removed from a level 4 general population unit at Staton CF, and placed in the SHU at a maximum lockup camp at Limestone CF. This shift in security level further constitutes the illegality of Traywick’s transfer. These events can only be interpreted as yet another egregious act of retaliation by the ADOC in the wake of peaceful organizing.
Prior to his transfer, Traywick was incarcerated at Staton CF for several months without any infractions. In fact, during his time at Staton he was promoted to a dorm leader position in a ‘rehabilitation’ program dorm, and was known for keeping down fights and drug use among fellow prisoners. Like other recent hunger strikers, Traywick is involved with groups focused on non-violence and education, including the Free Alabama Movement and Convicts Against Violence.
As such, Traywick’s transfer and confinement displays the ADOC’s pattern of targetting, isolating, and removing older, more established prisoners in order to foster instability and increase the likelihood of violence. It is clear that the ADOC continues to illegally impose solitary confinement no matter what cover they claim through their new terminology (e.g. ‘observation’). We also know that these tactics are a direct response to the work of incarcerated organizers who are protesting to stop the construction of new prisons in Alabama.
Over the past few weeks, 9 prisoners launched hunger strikes to protest the ADOC’s illegal use of solitary confinement. The first of these was Robert Earl Council, also known as Kinetik Justice. That initial strike inspired 8 others who became collectively known as the #Holman8. All strikes ended with negotiations to return individuals to general population. Kinetik Justice returned to general population for the second time this month on March 21st.
In response to these hunger strikes, community organizers across the country have shown support by alerting the press as well as organizing call and email-in campaigns to the ADOC offices. They have proven effective in both instances, getting the attention of local and national media outlets, and ultimately pushing the ADOC to release the hunger strikers back to general population.
Community members are stepping up again, now, to support Kenneth Traywick as he moves into his third day on hunger strike. According to Swift Justice, a fellow incarcerated member of the Free Alabama Movement, “Traywick does not want us to merely fight for him alone. He would tell us to fight a good fight to end this unjust practice of using solitary confinement to silence ‘the voice of the peacekeeper!’”. Like Robert Earl Council, Traywick will be striking until he is placed back in general population and the ADOC calls off its campaign of retaliation.
This Press release is a collaboration of:
Free Alabama Movement
F.A.M. Queen Team
Unheard Voices OTCJ