Dear Governor Deal:
While we appreciate the cautious steps you have taken in the past week or so to re-introduce educational opportunities for those held in state custody, we call on you to act boldly now to end the torture now practiced in the Georgia prisons.
As the international community has examined the research, including over a century of scientific studies suggesting that prolonged solitary confinement leads to irreversable mental degredation, experts have found that use of segregation for period in excess of fifteen days constitutes torture and cannot be supported under existing international standards for human rights.
The abuses of solitary confinement are now being litigated in the Federal Courts, and reviewed in Congressional hearings. The treatment of inmates has become the subject of international reviews of this nation's human rights record.
The Assembly has failed to appropriate the funds necessary to staff the SMU's at the Diagnostic Center, Washington State Prison and the Reidsville Prison which would be neccessary to comply with the Departments own policies which require an hour of daily exercise and regular access to personal hygiene for every inmate held there. As a result inmates for whom you are responsible have gone weeks without a shower or an hour in the exercise yard.
We assert that these practices compound the torture inherent in long periods of solitary confinement and are inconsistent with a the values of a state Constituted to "insure justice to all;" and that no "cruel and unusual punishments (be) inflicted".
We know you understand the meaning of Matthew's story regarding our failure to visit the Messiah in prison, and our responsibility to "the least of these". Many of Paul's epistles which are published with the gospels were penned from prison, perhaps even his letter to the Hebrews when he admonished us to "Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured."
We appeal to you that you may take the actions necessary to end this torture conducted in our name and with our tax dollars.
If necessary, we ask that you join us in our fast conducted in solidarity with the Hunger Strikers in your care. If this matter has not been resolved by July 2nd, we're asking Georgians of faith and conscience to refrain from solid foods on that day as a way of 'remember(ing) . . . those who are being tortured' and our relationship with them and the conditions under which they survive.
It is our fervent hope that through fasting and prayer, you too may see the imperative for the changes in Georgia public policy necessary to end these practices which have no place in a civilized society. We hope that by doing so you may know the courage to carry such proposals to the policy making bodies of this state.
Sign the Petition: Stop Torture in Georgia Prisons
Dear Governor Deal: