September 8, 2002
R.E. Holt, Southeast Regional Director
Federal Bureau of Prisons
3800 Camp Creek Parkway, S.W.
Atlanta, GA 30331-6226
Fax: (678) 686-1229
Dear Southeast Regional Director Holt:
The Board of Directors of Doctors for Global Health, a non-governmental Health and Human Rights organization registered in the state of Georgia, has recently been made aware of several conditions of concern in the Crisp County Jail: deplorable, unsafe facilities where prisoners are held in close physical contact and exposed to other prisoners with possible contagious conditions; medications not being administered exactly as prescribed by the prisoner's physician; unjust, harsh and illegal conditions relating to prisoners' family and friends visitation rights; refusal to remove prisoners to a temporary healthier environment, when polluted air filled nearby cells via intake vents after a prisoner was maced. It is imperative that these conditions which negatively impact on prisoners' health be investigated promptly and corrected to meet the human rights of all prisoners.
Peter Gelderloos, Toni Flynn and Jerry Zawada, School of the Americas Watch Prisoners of Conscience, were each found guilty in July 2002 for non-violent acts of civil disobedience, and sentenced to six months in a federal prison facility. While it was initially believed that their incarceration at the Crisp County Jail was to be a temporary, brief stop in transit to a federal prison closer to their homes, it is now understood that they are to remain at the Crisp County facility for the remainder of their sentences. To Mr. Gelderloos from Harrisonburg, VA, Father Zawada from Cedar Lake, IN, and Ms. Flynn from Valyermo, CA, it is a hardship—if not impossible—for family and friends to visit so far from their homes. In addition, the Crisp County Jail does not permit visits on weekends and the visitation facilities do not meet the Board of Prisons criteria.
The prisoners mentioned above have reported deplorable conditions in this jail, including dangerous medical neglect involving personal medications, possible contagious conditions among prisoners, and refusal to remove at least one prisoner to a temporary space to avoid unhealthy air intake after another prisoner was maced. While our attention was initially drawn to these three prisoners of conscience at this prison, held under harsh conditions, our complaints are extended to all prisoners held in Crisp County Jail. This facility is non-compliant with and in direct violation of federal prison standards for treatment of prisoners. Regardless of charges, all prisoners have the legal and moral right to carry out their sentences with access to proper medical treatment and reasonable access to their families and friends.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. Your prompt response is anticipated at the address below, informing us of actions that were taken to correct these conditions.
In Health and Human Rights,
Shirley J. Novak, MA
2nd Vice President and Advocacy Counsel
Doctors for Global Health
cc: NY Times