The Department of Corrections acknowledged Monday that a hunger strike at the Georgia Diagnostic & Classification Prison is ongoing and attracting more participants, but said prison officials have not mistreated any inmates or violated any procedures.
The department also denied accusations that it misled The Atlanta Journal-Constitution when it told the newspaper that the hunger strike, which began June 10, ended on July 6.
"The department can confirm that the hunger strike involving 10 inmates ended on July 6, 2012," spokeswoman Gwendolyn Hogan said in an email. But, she added, "On July 8, 2012, Miguel Jackson with seven inmates resumed the strike."
Er...and if that sounds confusing, check this out:
The DOC spokeswoman also acknowledged that exercise time for the hunger striking inmates has been restricted, but pointed to health concerns as the reason.
"Inmate Jackson's recreation privileges along with all inmates involved in the hunger strike have been placed on hold," Hogan said. "Doctors have stated that inmates on hunger strike should not receive outside recreation because it could increase the possibility of dehydration and expedite harmful health conditions due to the high temperatures."
As for the inmates' demand that they receive a 30-day review of their stay in administrative segregation, Hogan said that the inmates are "not in administrative segregation or in solitary confinement" and are "therefore are not receiving a 30 day review."
Instead, Hogan said, the inmates are "assigned to a Special Management Unit at the Georgia Diagnostic & Classification Prison," where they would receive five hours of recreation time per week if not for the hunger strike.
So, they're not in ad/seg or solitary because they get five hours of rec, even though they're not allowed the rec because of the hunger strike, which means the special management unit is for, uh...something.
When I can figure it out, I'll report back.