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Monday, October 21, 2013

Soja on Hunger Strike Against Continued Torture and Retaliation

Cornelius "Soja" Harris, the supermax prisoner who endured multiple extended hunger strikes early in 2013 is again refusing food. Harris requested a transfer to a safer facility, where he wouldn't be targeted for retaliation by staff, as he had been at OSP for years. The prison administration refused to transfer him in-state, but approved a transfer to a prison in Maryland. Harris initially accepted the transfer, but requested more information about the prison he'd be going to, what conditions were like and whether or not he'd be on 23 hour a day solitary confinement as is the case for prisoners at OSP. 

The UN has classified this type of long term solitary confinement as a torture method, but it remains increasingly common in US prisons. Harris refuses to comply with torture, and has thus been targetted by OSP staff. Harris said he would refuse to ride out, unless he had assurance that the torture of solitary confinement would cease in the Maryland prison.

In response OSP staff threatened to hurt Harris and destroy his property. Harris responded to these threats by going on a peaceful hunger strike. He has been refusing food since Oct 12th, OSP officials say that they have met with Harris about the hunger strike and are awaiting a date for the transfer to Maryland, where standard reception procedures will take place to determine his security level and conditions of confinement. In the meantime, other staff are interfering with the delivery of a clothing box that one of Harris' supporters had sent to him.

Please call the prison and request that Cornelius Harris' demands be met and that Lt Bright, who threatened Harris, not be allowed access to Harris or his property.

Call 330-743-0700 and dial ext 2006 for the Warden's office. The secretary will likely transfer you to Officer Remmick's voicemail, where you can leave a message. Reference Cornelius Harris' prisoner number: 525-945.

You can also write support letters to Soja at:

Cornelius "Soja" Harris 525-945
Ohio State Penitentiary
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd
Youngstown OH 44505

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