Ohio State Penitentiary, Youngstown, Ohio
April 30, 2012

At least 25 to 48 prisoners went on a 10 day hunger strike at Ohio State Penitentiary, a super-max prison in Youngstown. Prisoners stated an interest in “joining hands in struggle toward common goals” with protest  movements like Occupy Wall Street. For this reason they chose to begin their hunger strike on April 30, the day before demonstrations were set to take place on the outside for international workers day, also know as May Day. 

 The hunger strikers  wrote a list of demands and asked the Warden to meet with them to discuss them. Until this meeting took place, they said, they would indefinitely be on hunger strike. The strike ultimately lasted for ten days. On the last day, strike representatives met with the warden and reached an agreement. Two strikers held out because they did not agree with the terms. The warden met with them separately and they eventually agreed to end their strike.

The striker’s demands included the following:

  1. Lower commissary prices. One striker writes: “Commissary items are permitted to be marked up to 35% above retail, while many of us receive only $8 a month.”
  2. No more indefinite terms. Prisoners on the highest security level at OSP (level 5) currently have little prospects for reducing their security level and increasing privileges. “We are taken in front of a privilege review board every 90 days, yet can expect no [increase in] privilege for a year or longer” the hunger striker said of prisoners on Level 5B. Men on Level 5A have a privilege level review every six months, but there has been no increase in their privileges in recognition of good conduct for some time.
  3. Healthy and nutritious food. According to one hunger striker, “austerity cuts have allowed our food portions to be shortened.”
  4. Access to educational and enrichment materials. “There has recently been a major ban on books and music” the hunger striker said.

 

Citations

Ohio Super Max Prisoners on Hunger Strike“, Lucasville Amnesty, April 30, 2012

Article Published: 9/24/19

Header photo source: Inmateaid