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May 29

Join with New York IWOC for a phone zap campaign for the Bronx 120 and comrades at USP Hazelton. Call on Thursday, May 30th, 8:30 AM – 12:30, 2pm – 5PM.

IWOC NYC caught wind of the current conditions at Hazelton U.S. Penitentiary in West Virginia directly from members of the Bronx 120 (more info here) who are held captive there at present, nearly 400 miles away from their families. The facility has been on continuous lockdown for two months, except for two hours of each day. There have been no visitations allowed and programming has been discontinued. Reports of recent lockdowns at Hazelton go at least as far back as last December and this one shows no indication of letting up without a strong outside presence making it known that this is unacceptable.

Hazelton USP is severely understaffed and has become notorious for high levels of violence in recent years. Local outside support is lacking near Hazelton, meaning the Department of Corrections feels more emboldened to carry out heinous abuses unchecked by the community.

This separation and abuse must end. The pain of listening to our loved ones describe their suffering behind walls is heightened by long distances and long periods without contact. As one family member stated, “We need to see our family members just as you see yours.”

Tearing families apart is a tactic wielded by the state to hinder our resistance and movements. We do not have the resources at present to travel all the way to West Virginia, and even if we did, it would be difficult to sustain a long-term action. At this time, we need all abolitionists to make the call, not only for our folks from NYC, but for all those who have found themselves imprisoned in an unfamiliar, secluded, and dangerous place.

Grassroots pressure works. So we are organizing a call-in on THURSDAY MAY 30TH, from 8:30a–12:30p, and from 2:00p–5:00p. We are trying to reach Warden Bryan Antonelli, but additional calls to other administration, state and federal contacts would be extremely useful to increase pressure and gather more information.

Bryan Antonelli, Complex Warden: 1-304-379-5000
Rachel Thompson, Executive Assistant
Randy Keyes, Associate Warden
Dan Jones, Unit Manager
Francis VanKirk, Counselor
Justin McCall, Case Manager
Brett Friend, Health Services Administrator
Scott Spiker, Safety Specialist, USP Hazelton: 304-379-1547
Name unknown, Operator(?): 304-379-5500

CALL SCRIPT

“Hello, my name is [name] and I’m calling from [city] in support of the people incarcerated at USP Hazelton. I am extremely concerned about their health and safety. It’s clear that the ongoing lockdown, taking away visitation rights and separating families, shutting down programs, and the dangerous conditions at this facility are putting human lives at risk. I demand that the administrators of Hazelton immediately reverse these injustices. That means you end lockdown, reinstate visitation rights to family members, resume normal programming, and bring in trained staff who will be responsible toward the rights of the people incarcerated at your facility. I will keep calling until these demands are met, and each time I will ask the same question that I am asking now: what is Hazelton’s plan for ending these human rights abuses, and when will the necessary actions be taken?”

Do not be intimidated by those who answer the phone. Insist to speak to whom you’ve called for. Give no more information than necessary and record your call, if possible. To share information on the results of the call, please email us at iwoc.nyc@riseup.net.

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS (as listed online… may not be up-to-date)

USP Hazelton staff (304-379-5000 unless otherwise noted):
Rachel Thompson, Executive Assistant
Randy Keyes, Associate Warden
Dan Jones, Unit Manager
Francis VanKirk, Counselor
Justin McCall, Case Manager
Brett Friend, Health Services Administrator
Scott Spiker, Safety Specialist, USP Hazelton: 304-379-1547
Name unknown, Operator(?): 304-379-5500

State/federal contacts:
Hugh Hurwitz, Acting Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons: 202-307-3198 (general line)
David McKinley, Congressman, West Virginia (why): 304-284-8506 (Morgantown), 304-232-3801 (Wheeling), 304-422-5972 (Parkersburg)
Jim Justice, Governor of West Virginia: 304-558-2000 (office), 304-558-3588 (governor’s mansion)

RECENT PRESS ON USP HAZELTON

January 2019: Some details on the ongoing lockdowns.
https://www.wdtv.com/content/news/Hazeltt-504020011.html

November 2018: Details on Hazelton’s long history of violence and current understaffing.
https://thepublicsradio.org/article/violence-plagued-west-virginia-prison-before-bulger-killing

October 2018: Request for “formal investigation into the alleged appalling conditions inmates are facing at the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) Hazelton facility in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia.”
https://norton.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/norton-demands-ig-investigation-of-appalling-prisoner-conditions

October 2018: “Prison Where Whitey Bulger Died Is Known As One Of The Most Dangerous In America”
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/whitey-bulger-hazelton-prison_n_5bda55c7e4b01abe6a1b257c

In Solidarity,
IWOC NYC
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IWOC

Members of the IWW have created the IWOC, the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, which functions as a liaison for prisoners to organize each other, unionize, and build solid bridges between prisoners on the inside and fellow workers on the outside. Prison is a setup, a big business, there to make money off the People. Neither the setup, nor the slavery inside of prisons can be combated without the conscious participation of prisoners and the working class on the outside through mutual aid, solidarity, and the building of working relationships that transcend prison walls and the politics of mass incarceration. The IWOC has been actively reaching out to prisoners while at the same time prisoners have been reaching out to the IWW for representation and assistance in building a prisoners union. The IWOC has taken up the cause and is helping prisoners in every facility organize and build a union branch for themselves, which will together form a powerful IWW Industrial Union.

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