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Lucasville

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Lucasville

The Untold Story of a Prison Uprising
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In telling the story of one of the longest prison uprisings in U.S. history, in which hundreds of inmates seized a major area of an Ohio correctional facility, this chronicle examines the causes of the...
In telling the story of one of the longest prison uprisings in U.S. history, in which hundreds of inmates seized a major area of an Ohio correctional facility, this chronicle examines the causes of the...
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Description-
  • In telling the story of one of the longest prison uprisings in U.S. history, in which hundreds of inmates seized a major area of an Ohio correctional facility, this chronicle examines the causes of the disturbance, what happened during its 11-day duration, and the fairness of the trials in the aftermath of the rioting. Recounted from the prisoners' side and viewed through a lawyer's and an activist's lens, this exposé sheds light on the horrific and inhumane prison conditions, the rebellion and killing of 10 people, the drivers of the negotiated surrender, and the trial that was filled with misrepresentations and evasions on the part of those running the prison. The eloquent new foreword from the renowned political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal underlines the theme of the interracial character of the uprising and the basic desire of the prisoners to be recognized as men. A detailed view on a major prison uprising, this new edition will appeal to legal scholars, history buffs, prisoner and human rights activists, and family members of incarcerated individuals alike.

Excerpts-
  • Lucasville CHAPTER ONE A LONG TRAIN OF ABUSES
    The uprising at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) in Lucasville began on Easter Sunday, April 11, 1993. As prisoners returned from recreation in the yard at about 3 p.m., they overpowered correctional officers on duty inside L block. After the release of certain badly injured officers, eight continued to be held as hostages.
    In the course of the occupation, two more hostages were set free and one was murdered. Eventually, with the help of Attorney Niki Schwartz, the State and the prisoners came to a 21-point agreement. On Wednesday, April 21, 1993, 407 prisoners surrendered and the five remaining hostages were released.
    In subsequent legal proceedings, three negotiators and spokespersons for the prisoners—Siddique Abdullah Hasan, formerly known as Carlos Sanders (hereafter “Hasan”), Jason Robb, and George Skatzes—were found guilty of the aggravated murder of Officer Robert Vallandingham. So was Namir Abdul Mateen, also known as James Were (hereafter “Namir”). All four were sentenced to death, along with Keith Lamar, alleged to have organized a “death squad” that killed five supposed prisoner informants in the early hours of the uprising. Hasan and Namir are Sunni Muslims, Robb and Skatzes were at the time members of the Aryan Brotherhood.
    As this book goes to press, the five capital cases are making their way through the courts. Hasan, Robb, Lamar and Skatzes are at the last (federal habeas corpus) stage of appeals.
    King Arthur
    What makes human beings rebel?
    Often rebellion seems not to be in the personal interest of the insurgents. This was true in Philadelphia in 1776, where Benjamin Franklin is said to have joked about the need for the signers of the Declaration of Independence to hang together lest they hang separately. It was equally true in Lucasville, Ohio, in April 1993. At least two of the five men later sentenced to death for their alleged roles in the uprising were within sight of release from prison when the “riot” began. Hasan, the supposed mastermind of the rebellion, was in the SOCF honor block.
    The words “a long train of abuses” come from the Declaration of Independence. I draw on that history because the American Revolution is the rebellion about which I know most. I taught students about the American Revolution at Spelman College, a college for African American women in Atlanta, and at Yale University. I tried to ask hard questions such as: Why did some tenant farmers support the patriot cause while others hoped for a British victory? (Answer: It depended on the politics of your landlord. You opposed what the landlord was for, in the hope that if he lost you could obtain ownership of your farm.) Why did city artisans, who were radical Sons of Liberty before 1776, vote in 1787 for a constitution drafted by conservatives like Alexander Hamilton? (Answer: Before and after independence, the artisans were concerned to keep British manufactured goods out of America.) And how did it come about that these advocates of inalienable human rights set up a government for the new nation that protected slavery? (Answer: Both Northerners and Southerners expected that population in their part of the country would grow more rapidly. Each section anticipated that it would come to dominate the Congress and could then resolve the issue of slavery in its own interest.)
    In writing about the Lucasville uprising I have viewed it as a rebellion like the American Revolution.
About the Author-
  • Staughton Lynd is a civil rights and a peace activist, a historian, a lawyer, and a professor. He taught American history at Spelman College and Yale University and was a director the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee of Freedom Schools in the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer. He is the author and coauthor of more than 12 books, including Intellectual Origins of American Radicalism, Stepping Stones: A Memoir of a Life Together, and Wobblies and Zapatistas. He lives in Youngstown, Ohio.
Reviews-
  • Howard Zinn, author, A People's History of the United States, on the first edition "Lucasville is one of the most powerful indictments of our 'justice system' I have ever read. What comes across is a litany of flaws deep in the system, and recognizably not unique to Lucasville. The detailed transcripts (yes, oral history!) give great power to the whole story."
  • Michael Mello, author, The Wrong Man: A True Story of Innocence on Death Row, on the first edition "What makes the book unique in the historical sense is the remarkable range of primary and secondary sources; Lynd writes with a lawyer's pen but a poet's ear. . . . This book is a reminder that prisoners—even death row prisoners—are human beings, too. Lucasville is a resounding affirmation of our common humanity."
  • Library Journal "[O]f interest to anyone who follows prison politics or the often enigmatic workings of the justice system."
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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The Untold Story of a Prison Uprising
Staughton Lynd
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Staughton Lynd
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