Sussex Correctional Institution, Georgetown, Delaware
July 29-31, 2018
Fourteen of the eighteen prisoners charged in connection with the February 2017 uprising at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center stage a hunger strike in protest of their recreation time being cut, lack of visitation hours, and lack of access to a sufficient law library, among other things. The prisoners, who had been transferred out of Vaughn Correctional following the uprising to the Howard R. Young Correctional Center and the Sussex Correctional center, were all united at the Sussex Correctional Center shortly before the hunger strike.
According to prison officials, the strike lasted only 24 hours.
One of the prisoners described the situation in a letter to the Chicago Anarchist Black Cross:
“Despite the appreciation and healing of being able to see my codefendants faces again after the struggles and suffering we endured together at J.T.V.C.C. [James T. Vaughn Correctional Center], I believe this transition has turned out for the worst. Why? Because since the arrival of my other codefendants the administration has switched our rec schedule to where we’re only getting an hour and a half every other day unlike the hour and a half we used to get every single day. So basically, our rec hours were literally cut in half from getting ten and a half hours a week to six and a half or four and a half hours a week. Not only is this rec schedule in contrary to CLASI (Community Legal Aid Society Incorporated, CLASI vs. Robert M. Coupe, 2016 US District, Lexis 237 28* 2017 WL 1055741), of what’s supposed to be implemented, but this is a retaliation attack against us. The moment this new rec schedule was activated we addressed the warden to his face that this wasn’t going to work. His response was “give me two weeks.” Fourteen of us waited patiently for two weeks and nothing got done, instead we were spinned and lied to as usual. To avoid any more lies and to get what we’re entitled as prisoners, we came together and organized a hunger strike. After about 2-3 days on the hunger strike, staff came to negotiate. Despite us having multiple requests that were reasonable, our main focus was rec because certain people were unable to call their families and attorneys because of the times we came out. After stressing our reasons for rec change to staff, they agreed to change it that following Monday as long as we came off of hunger strike. As a group, we agreed to get off hunger strike for the purpose of getting our new rec schedule. After that, they backdoored us with Class 1 demonstration infractions that carry 5 days hole, 10 days confinement of quarters, and 30 days loss of all privileges, and they still haven’t implemented the new rec schedule. Some already pled guilty to the infraction and some are in the process of appealing. We were hoping that you and your comrades can make a call to our judge and warden.”
“Vaughn 17 Update & a Call for Support,” It’s Going Down, September 14, 2018.
“Delaware Inmate Hunger Strike Ends at SCI” WBOC, August 1, 2018.
“14 Delaware inmates end more than 24-hour hunger strike at Sussex Correctional Institution,” The News Journal, July 31, 2018.