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Apr 25, 19

Kenneth Traywick Faces Retaliation for Hunger Strike in Alabama

The situation at Limestone Correctional Facility is becoming more urgent as hunger striker and friend Kenneth Traywick endures continued retaliation from wardens, staff, and the highest officials of the Alabama Department of Corrections.  In the face of Traywick’s deteriorating health and the possibility of rapidly approaching kidney failure, we report recent events with grave concern, outrage, and a plea for support.

Today (Wednesday), is the 14th day that Traywick has refused to break his hunger strike, even after being force fed by IV on April 21st.  We learned that upon visiting Traywick yesterday, the Warden refused to acknowledge the public show of support expressed by a day long call-in campaign that registered at least 400 calls to the ADOC and Limestone Correctional Facility.  At this time, no officials have acknowledged or responded to the demands issued by Traywick on April 21st.

We know that Traywick has endured retaliation from the medical staff on at least two occasions.  On the first, one nurse reported that Traywick had taken a sip of juice on April 17th, which meant that Limestone could re-set the clock on the hunger strike and delay monitoring his health.  A correctional officer notified Traywick of this nurse’s action.  The fact that Traywick was moved to the infirmary per hunger-strike protocol exposes the fact that the nurse was lying and Traywick was put at increased health risk due to this intentional act of deceit and negligence. Moreover, there was no medical documentation to demonstrate blood sugar levels after the alleged sip of juice on April 17th.

The second occasion occurred while Traywick endured IV treatment in the infirmary, when head nurse Sergeant B. Williams declared that she hoped he died and they dragged his body out in a body bag.  She also made jokes about how much it was going to hurt when they shoved tubes down his nose and throat when his kidneys shut down.  While sympathetic nurses later told Traywick that Sgt. Williams was cruel and had no right to say such things, we have no doubt that this behavior is reflective of the complete hostility shown Traywick by those wielding violent force and institutional power within Limestone and the ADOC.

We need public support and legal aid to ensure that the ADOC and Limestone CF refrain from any further retaliatory actions against Traywick as he remains committed to his strike even as this is becoming a life-threatening political act.  We know that Traywick has been enduring consistent retaliation because he is part of the movement to expose ADOC for its torture practices, extortion, and commitment to keeping prisons violent in order to fuel the expansion of the private prison economy in Alabama.  We demand nothing short of Traywick’s immediate transfer out of Limestone CF and ask for legal support to determine further steps to ensure his safety and to hold the ADOC accountable.

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