More Frequent Updates

We've been using this blog less and our facebook group more often, for random updates and events. So, if you wanna know what we're doing right now, go here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Soja Ends Second Hunger Strike After 32 Days

Picture taken before first hunger strike.
Tuesday March 19th, YOUNGSTOWN- Cornelius "Soja" Harris ends hunger strike after 32 days. In mid February Soja suspended a 38 day hunger strike, then went back on a few days later when the Warden failed to make good on a promise to return property destroyed by prison guards in retaliation during his first hunger strike.

Soja comes off this strike with the following concessions to his demands:

1. Soja was transferred out of the hole, back to general population.
2. All restrictions originating from petty and retaliatory write-ups have been removed.
3. Soja will be re-imbursed $25.
4. Soja will be allowed to spend $100 on hygiene products and will be allowed to order a clothing box. (Purchases that are normally restricted).
5. Soja's security level will be reduced back to 5A if there are no incidents for 30 days.

Soja wants his supporters to know that he appreciates all that they have done, and that it is important to continue the struggle against the prison system: "there are a whole lot of people who are ready to snap in this place. Prison authorities put guys in messed up situations, where it is nearly impossible to hold on to your self-respect and principles."

Picture taken near end of first hunger strike.
Soja coming off this hunger strike is surely not an end to his ordeals at OSP. During the transfer out of segregation, OSP staff violated policy to go through Soja's packed-up property to remove and send some new clothing to the laundry, where clothes are often damaged.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Monkey Number Nine Exonerates Sean Swain

March 13, 2013
In a recent sworn affidavit Leslie Dillon admits to heading the Mansfield faction of the Army of the 12 Monkeys. He states that as Monkey number 9 he knows that his co-accused Sean Swain and James “Blackjack” Dzelajilija are not members of A12M. He states that he is the only member of the Army of the 12 Monkeys at ManCI, and that he did not recruit or attempt to recruit any members. He also explains the circumstantial evidence the Rules Infraction Board used against Swain and Blackjack and describes an attempt to coerce testimony from him against Swain.
Dillon states that Swain’s 12 Monkeys tattoo pre-dated the emergence of the Army of the 12 Monkeys and is simply a reference to the 90s movie starring Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt. The “propaganda” found in Dzelajilija’s cell was actually rap lyrics he wrote based on 2Pac Shakur’s song “Everyone Rise”. Dillon aquired a copy of these lyrics and remembered the 2Pac song, so he typed the lyrics and signed it Monkey #12.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Update from Soja (Cornelius Harris)

Cornelius Harris (Soja) is on hunger strike at Ohio State Penitentiary. Here is an article about a hunger strike he was involved in in June of 2012, and here is a more recent article about this current one. His health is in fast decline. Call Warden Bobby about this. Outside support is crucial.

"I wanted to update you on my situation here at OSP.

I have been on hunger strike since Feb 17th, 2013. My reasons for hunger striking are as follows:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ohio State Penitentiary Hunger Strike Demands

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013, Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP)- Cornelius "Soja" Harris' second hunger strike reaches 24 days. Less than a week after Soja suspended his 38 day hunger strike, he resumed refusing food. He is ready to come back off hunger strike if five simple demands are met.

He initially suspended the hunger strike he started on January 4th, with assurances from OSP Warden David Bobby that his missing property would be returned or replaced and that an institutional inspector to interview him. A few days later correctional officers at OSP interfered with a scheduled visit from Soja's partner and threatened to destroy more of his property. On return from that visit, they refused to give Soja his morning meal. This harassment combined with the fact that Warden David Bobby had not taken action on his assurances prompted Soja to go back on hunger strike.

Soja states that he is willing to come off this hunger strike if five simple demands are met.

1. Return or reimburse for property guards destroyed during Soja's first hunger strike.
2. Immediate transfer from segregation back to Sojas regular cell.
3. Lift restrictions from petty and fabricated conduct reports filed against Soja in retaliation for his hunger strike and the success at his trial.
4. End to harassment from Correctional Officers.
5. Opportunity to call outside supporters to make up for visits that guards cancelled or interfered with.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Call in Day for Soja

Thursday and Friday March 7th and 8th are call-in days for Soja, who is back on hunger strike.

Cornelius "Soja" Harris (prisoner reg number 525-945) has refused all food on 78 out of the last 83 days. He suspended his initial 38 day hunger strike for 5 days in mid February. When he came off the first strike, $300 worth of property had been stolen or destroyed from his cell. Warden David Bobby said he would make sure all the property was returned or replaced. Five days later, on February 20th, his property was still not returned, and Soja resumed his hunger strike. Warden Bobby refuses to discuss Mr Harris' situation with supporters.

Soja is demanding inspectors from central office come to interview him at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP). He is asking supporters to call Central Office at 614-752-1159 and request that they send someone to OSP to do this interview.

Staff at OSP have resumed harassment of Soja since he returned from trial. Officers Austin, Burns and Kishh have threatened to destroy more of Soja's property while he was on a visit. Thanks in part to supporter phone calls, these COs were properly supervised, and while they did toss Soja's cell, they didn't destroy any of his property. They did bring him down an hour late for his visit, and intentionally put him in a booth with a broken light and dirty glass so his visitor could hardly see him. Supporters are als encouraged to call OSP and ask Warden Bobby why his staff is allowed to engage in this campaign of targeted harassment. The number there is 330-743-0700.

In the midst of January's hunger strike, Mr Harris went to court on multiple criminal charges, including aggravated attempted murder, stemming from incidents of fights with prison staff. The jury found him not guilty of the more serious offenses, and only convicted him of assault and weapons possession, which he admitted to committing, out of self defense. The jury beleived the incidents were initiated by prison staff, and did not believe the guards and prison officials the prosecution put on the stand. In spite of these factors, the judge sentenced Mr Harris to thirty-two years, nearly the maximum possible sentence.

Mr Harris wrote the following statement to supporters via institutional email on March 5th: "It's been thumbs down on me since the conclusion of my trial. These cowards are not satisfied with the fact that I received an extra 32 years on my sentence, they're not satisfied until they have crushed you to dust and blew you away. They want you crawling on your knees, weak and broken, they don't want you standing strong, head up with no fear. They only plan is to control and punish, they never intend to compromise, violence is the only language they understand." He has also sent a longer statement via regular mail, which will be forthcoming. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hunger Striker Targeted for Harassment by OSP Staff.

Monday March 4th, Youngstown- After only five days with food, the man who endured a 38 day hunger strike at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) resumed not eating on Wednesday February 20th. Soja (also known as Cornelius Harris, prisoner number 525-945) has resumed his suspended hunger strike in response to continued harassment by correctional officers at OSP. While Soja was in court in late January, correctional officers lost, stole or destroyed over 30 items of his personal property, valued at over $300. Upon his return to OSP, Warden David Bobby agreed that Soja's property would be returned or replaced. Soja claims the property has not been returned, and that there is video evidence of all the property that was in his cell before he left for court.

Warden David Bobby refused to comment on the situation.

Since resuming his hunger strike, correctional officers have resumed harassment. Last week officers Austin, Kish and Burns repeatedly threatened that they would destroy more of Soja's property while he was on a scheduled visit this Sunday. Supporters called OSP Sunday morning and requested the Shift Captain Sanders supervise any search of Soja's cell while he was on that visit. Soja has not been able to report back on whether anything happened with his property while he was on that visit.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Cornelius Harris Is Back on Hunger Strike

Soja (Cornelius Harris) has resumed his hunger strike. He is demanding that his missing property be returned or replaced. Warden Bobby has previously agreed to do that. I do not know details about which property is still missing, but Soja does not believe the warden has made good on this agreement. We think he resumed his hunger strike on Tuesday or Wednesday, but have not heard from him since. Another prisoner in his pod has confirmed that Soja is on hunger strike, and has been transferred to the infirmary.

There is also reason to believe that JPay's email system went down for a number of days last week. Soja's daily emails stopped abruptly, other prisoners who write frequently have also been silent. When asked JPay customer service said they had a technical problem, and then put the caller on hold for 20 minutes. I got the first JPay email in a while today, it was sent out on Feb 19th.

Supporters can call OSP on Monday 330-743-0700 ask to speak to Warden Bobby, and demand that Mr Harris's property be returned. Cornelius Harris' prisoner number is 525-945.