TAGS: Protest, Family
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transcript for Kerry Shakaboona Marshall interview with Noelle Hanrahan 1/27/2017:
Kerry Shakaboona Marshall: Two weeks ago, prison administrators put restrictions on prisoners' phone calls to their families because of a small altercation among two or three prisoners. After that, prisoners responded by holding the phones hostage, refusing to lock up in the prison block. They locked the prison down for a week straight on emergency lockdown, which were A blocks and D blocks and now phone restrictions are even tighter than what it used to be. So prisoners are having [great difficulty] calling their family members at home.
Noelle Hanrahan: What was the reason for the original restriction?
Kerry Shakaboona Marshall: Because two people was fighting on the phone. Well not on the phone, but over the phone, which led to a brawl.
Noelle Hanrahan: What were the issues and concerns of prisoners in general when they took that action to occupy the phones? What were their concerns and what did they ask the administration for?
Kerry Shakaboona Marshall: The concerns was that they're being punished for what a few other prisoners had done and now they are not being able to call their families as frequently as they have been. And they wanted the restrictions to be lifted and the administration refused to take away the restrictions.
Noelle Hanrahan: What's the status right now?
Kerry Shakaboona Marshall: The status right now is that they immediately transferred approximately two dozen prisoners to different prisons around the state. They had A block and D block locked down for approximately one week. And they have just now taken us off of emergency lockdown and allowing the normal operations of the prison. And restrictions are still in place and prisoners are having difficulty getting on the phones.
Noelle Hanrahan: So you're saying that prisoners were responding to what would be collective punshment. That they were punished for an incident that happened between a couple of individuals. Why is it so important for prisoners to have contact with their families, their lawyers, their loved ones - the outside world.
Kerry Shakaboona Marshall: It's very important because without family bonds it's hard to return to society and have that support. It's hard for prisoners to maintain connection with their lawyers to present a proper defense for their legal appeals in courts. And it harms everybody because they have children, wives ,and people who care about them and who are worried about them and they can't make these calls to keep a strong family unit.