Due to mass pressure, prison activist-writer removed from solitary

EDITOR NOTES: 

Bulletin: After receiving hundreds of phone calls, SCI Albion prison officials took Coffey out of solitary confinement late Jan. 13 but claimed he couldn’t be allowed to call his sister because of a prison lock down. Coffey finally called his sister on Jan 14. He reported no physical harm and thanks everyone who supported him, including Workers World, Food Not Bombs Solidarity, Industrial Workers of the World, and the Human Rights Coalition.

Workers World writer and prisoner at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Albion, Jerome Coffey, was removed from his cell and placed in solitary confinement on Jan. 6.

Jerome Coffey

Coffey has been told he’s in the hole while prison officials conduct a phony investigation for a disturbance last week he had nothing to do with. Prisoners have reported guards harassing Coffey ever since he wrote the Dec. 3 article.

A fellow prisoner at SCI Albion told WW that Coffey was put in the hole for mailing an article he wrote for the newspaper on the 30th anniversary of the Camp Hill prison uprising to a SCI Camp Hill administrator.

The PA Department of Corrections has no right to punish a prisoner for exercising his, her or their right to free speech. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution forbids denying “freedom of speech, or of the press” to all people, including those behind bars. Prison authorities have no legal basis to punish prison-reporter Coffey for sharing his article — titled “30 years after the Camp Hill Uprising: Repression in Pennsylvania’s prison system” — even if PA DOC officials disagree with its contents. (Read article at tinyurl.com/tv27tok/.)

His twin sister, Jeanne Coffey, called the prison all day on Jan. 10, but prison officials refused to answer her questions concerning Jerome’s welfare.

Family and friends are asking people to call:
SCI-Albion/ Superintendent: Michael Clark 814-756-5778
SCI-Albion/ Deputy Superintendent Facilities Management: Bryan Flinchbaugh 814-756-5778

Tell them you are calling out of concern for Jerome Coffey (AS-1558). Demand that his family be informed of his condition and that he be allowed a phone call to his family, specifically his twin sister, Jeanne Coffey, at 267-368-2081.

In addition, Jerome should be taken out of solitary and returned to general population. Jeanne Coffey is asking callers to let her know what prison officials tell you.

Jerome Coffey is a co-founder of the Human Rights Coalition, a grassroots nonprofit group of prisoners and their families, exoffenders and supporters. HRC was formed to aid and support prisoners’ families coping with the stress and hardships created by having a loved one incarcerated, as well as to challenge the punitive, retributive nature of the penal system. For more information, go to hrcoalition.org/about-hrc.

(WW photo)

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