Maximum Security Correctional Institution Guayama 296, Guayama, Puerto Rico
March 20, 2020
More than 200 prisoners at a prison in Guayama, Puerto Rico organized a hunger strike after officials at the prison confiscated all the prisoners hygiene and cleaning items, according to a letter from the strikers.
The letter, which was addressed to Eduardo Rivera Juanatey, Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in Puerto Rico, was an attempt to call attention to the action of officials at the prison.
The complete text of their demand letter is below. Translation by Perilous Chronicle:
March 19, 2020
Eduardo Rivera Juanatey
Secretary of the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation
IMPORTANT NOTICE: FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT AND THE WARDEN, OFFICIALS CONFISCATE PERSONAL HYGEINE PRODUCTS
Greetings, Mr. Rivera Juanatey,
This letter is directed to you, demanding that you take immediate action. In the Maximum-Security Correctional Facility of Guayama 296, prison officials confiscated toilet paper, bath soap, and laundry detergent, all of which was originally purchased in the commissary store, with money deposited by the prisoners’ families. Prison officials also confiscated liquid disinfectant and hand sanitizer brought by families in recent days. How is it possible that functionaries of the agency which you direct, continue this mistreatment and abuse of power? Are you ordering these actions? Do you agree that the Superintendent, Edward García, and the commander, Emma Rivera, continue abusing the imprisoned population of Guayama 296?
All of this is an act of retaliation. Yes, retaliation. All of this because prisoners did not agree to sending their uniforms and other belongings to be washed. All of the clothes of the imprisoned population are washed together. Furthermore, clothes from another institution, Maximum-Security Correctional Facility of Guayama 1000, are also washed here. For their tranquility, for what is happening with the coronavirus, they didn’t send their belongings. The superintendent wanted to force them to send their clothes and belongings, but they refused because they had their own powder laundry detergent to keep their things clean.
What has made them the most uncomfortable, the most unhappy, is that the superintendent commented the following: “Now come the consequences.” With this, he began a process where more than 40 officials without gloves or any type of protection, confiscated all of the prisoners’ detergent. Although the detergent was provided by the families, the prison officials didn’t offer any pay for the detergent. They also confiscated game consuls even though they are permitted by the DCR.
We demand your swift intervention. We are tired of the mistreatment, the cruel and unusual punishment on part of the functionaries of the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation. We demand that they return to the prisoners their stuff which was taken from them without reason. We cannot withstand any more abuse. As a result, starting March 20, 2020, the population of the Maximum-Security Facility of Guayama 296, will stop carrying out all services until you meet with the members of the imprisoned population.
Spokesman of the Imprisoned Population
“Más de 200 reos en huelga de hambre en cárcel de Guayama“, Primera Hora, March 19, 2020.