Filed under: Action, Incarceration, Southeast
Report from Fight Toxic Prisons on launch of hunger strike in the face of spreading COVID-19 infections.
In the midst of a global pandemic, a prison hunger strike began on Friday April 17th at Kilby Correctional Facility. Kenneth Traywick, the sole hunger striker, is protesting fabricated assault charges that were placed on him and at least five other incarcerated people last week.
The false disciplinary charges are a clear case of retaliation for grievances that Traywick and other incarcerated people at Kilby filed over a month ago. The formal grievances involved a legal writ and petition deeming that the ADOC Comissioner Jeff Dunn is ill-suited for his position in the public office, as he has no prior correctional experience. Indeed, the logic that allows the state of Alabama to appoint a former military commander to oversee the entire corrections system is the same logic that enables it to leave incarcerated people to die during a pandemic.
While the Alabama prison system is on the brink of a COVID19 outbreak, the ADOC continues unveiling its reckless endangerment of the people supposedly in its care. This pattern displays not only the incompetence of the ADOC, which has been under federal scrutiny for over a year, but also the extent to which incarcerated people are willing to go to expose injustice.
On April 20th, Traywick was sent to the hospital at Kilby Correctional Facility, where he intends to stay on the hunger strike indefinitely. Traywick has stated that he is willing to die if that’s what it will take to expose the corruption at Kilby C.F. and across the ADOC. As the COVID19 pandemic has shed light on the routine abuse, neglect, and violence that incarcerated people have long been facing, Traywick’s strike raises the stakes at hand and reminds us of the agency of incarcerated people in advocating for their own dignity and humanity.