RACE TRAITOR - treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity
 

Black and White and Dead All Over: The Lucasville Insurrection
by Staughton Lynd

 

In April 1993, an inmate rebellion broke out at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) in Lucasville, Ohio, near Cincinnati. Nine prisoners and one correctional officer were killed during the 11-day uprising.

In court proceedings following the end of the riot, five inmates were sentenced to death and are presently on death row at Mansfield Correctional Institution. They are: Siddique Abdullah Hasan (formerly known as Carlos Sanders), Namir Abdul Mateen (formerly known as James Were), Keith Lamar, Jason Robb, and George Skatzes. Hasan, Mateen, and Lamar are black. Hasan and Mateen are Sunni Muslims. Robb and Skatzes are white and are members of the Aryan Brotherhood.

 

Introduction and Chronology
 
I. Anatomy of an Uprising
II. A Riot, a Race Riot, or a Black-and-White Insurrection?
III. A Travesty of Justice
IV. On Death Row
V. Epilogue


IV. On Death Row

The men sentenced to death as leaders of the Lucasville insurrection have been reunited on Death Row at the Mansfield Correctional Institution.

What they have experienced there is described as follows by the lawyer who helped them in negotiating a surrender agreement:

Departmental regulations provide for three levels of privileges on death row and for newly sentenced inmates to be placed on the middle level upon arrival. However, Jason Robb (and all other subsequently death-sentenced riot inmates) was placed on the lowest level of privileges upon his arrival, notwithstanding two years of exemplary behavior since the riot. When I protested that this was "retaliatory" in violation of Point 14, I was told that this was the death row equivalent of administrative control. However, administrative control is not supposed to be punitive and death row inmates are already under very heavy security control. [My requests have] fallen on deaf ears . . . . (Attorney Niki Schwartz to Attorney Gerald Messerman, June 4, 1996)

The Lucasville Five have undertaken two hunger fasts to upgrade their security classification.In 1997, they were joined by another inmate on Death Row, John Stojetz.

The 1997 fast had two objectives: medical treatment for George Skatzes; upgrading the fasters' security classification from Level C to Level B. The following letter to Warden Coyle was written by one of the black inmates from Lucasville.

Mr. Coyle (et al):

This letter is in regards to the reasons we have elected to initiate a strike in order to protest against what we feel are the unfair conditions that we have been subjected to, since being convicted and sentenced to death, and subsequently confined here at Mansfield Correctional Institution.

Sir, as you know, we have consistently communicated with Mr. Israel concerning this matter, but, as of this date, there still seems to be some confusion with respect to our concerns and expectations. Therefore, to guard against further waste of each other's time, we all agreed that it would be more conducive to reaching a resolution if we simply stated our position, thereby giving you an opportu- nity to clearly consider the issues involved.

To begin with, we already understand that there are some concerns regarding security, and that, due to the nature of the circumstances that resulted in us being placed on death row, it falls within your responsibility to enforce whatever "Security" measures you deem necessary. Under- standing that, we recognize your need to keep us in an isolated area. However, as we have repeatedly attempted to explain, keeping us in an isolated area and denying us privileges that do not constitute a security threat, is equivalent to punishing us twice for the same offense.

At the forefront of our list of concerns, we are asking that George Skatzes receive immediate medical attention for what is, as yet, an undiagnosed problem he's been having with his stomach. With respect to this, he has repeatedly tried, to no avail, to have the Doctor order some tests in order to determine what the problem is. Surely, he is entitled to the same attention that is accorded to everyone else. We're asking that he be given attention capable of addressing these concerns, and preventing his problem from becoming any worse than what it already is.

Secondly, as regards the privileges, we're asking that we be given "all" our personal property that doesn't inter- fere with you maintaining security. As this is a security issue, we're asking that we be accorded the same privileges that were given to all of the S.O.C.F. inmates immediately following the riot, when placed on Security Control Investi- gation here at the Mansfield Correctional Institution. These privileges consist of:

  1. All personal property (T.V., Typewriter etc.)
  2. Access to phones
  3. Food Boxes (No canned goods per Institutional policy)
  4. Full Commissary privileges
  5. Full visitation privileges
  6. Full recreation privileges
  7. Legal services
  8. Stop messing with our mail

[Referring to] the so-called "21 point agreement" ... [o]f particular importance, in our opinion, are #2 and #14, which state that, there will be no retaliating actions taken toward any inmates, or their property.

In conclusion, let us assure you, that we understand your position and the concerns you have in maintaining a safe environment. We also realize that we'll never be allowed to mingle among other death row inmates and, though we disagree with the notion that keeping us isolated is the answer, we have no intentions to resist against this reasoning. Nevertheless, we set forth the fact that we have already been punished for our alleged participation in the riot, and that any further punishment is blatant retaliation.

Sir, as you know, being sentenced to death is the strongest penalty available to man. Having already been sentenced, we all understand and, await the final decision. In the meantime, however, we request and expect to be treated in the same fashion as other death row inmates.

If you will take the time to investigate, you'll find that we have presented no problems since being here. The only problem exists in us being singled out and treated contrary to everyone else. This we are no longer willing to accept.

Finally, we ask that you acknowledge the urgency in addressing our concerns, as this is approaching the fourth week of the strike, and we have no intention of yielding, until we receive a legitimate response and appropriate changes are made. Sincerely,

  1. George W. Skatzes
  2. Jason Robb
  3. A. S. Hasan
  4. John Stojetz
  5. Namir Abdul Mateen
  6. Keith Lamar

The Lucasville Five ended their recent fast on July 24. The unit manager has been transferred. Skatzes' medical condition remains problematic.

 

Next Section

Introduction and Chronology
 
I. Anatomy of an Uprising
II. A Riot, a Race Riot, or a Black-and-White Insurrection?
III. A Travesty of Justice
IV. On Death Row
V. Epilogue

from RACE TRAITOR #8, Winter 1998