Less than two months after becoming the public face of striking prisoners across the country, one Alabama inmate has launched a hunger strike.
Alabama Department of Corrections spokesman Bob Horton told AL.com Thursday that Robert Earl Council, known in the prison movement as Kinetic Justice, is on a hunger strike.
“Prison officials confirm the inmate has declared a hunger strike,” Horton wrote in an email to AL.com. “Medical staff has conducted an initial assessment of the inmate’s condition. The inmate will be weighed daily, his food intake monitored, and proper medical care will be provided as needed.”
Horton added later that Council’s (aka Justice’s) reason for the strike is over concern for his safety.
According to AL.com, rumors began spreading last week that the activist inmate was refusing to eat as a nonviolent protest against what he described as his mistreatment by the Alabama DOC.
Justice was formerly an inmate at the W.C. Holman correctional facility in Atmore, where he was being held in solitary confinement, but the DOC moved him to the Limestone correctional facility two weeks ago in a move that advocates see as an act of retaliation.
Free Alabama Movement’s spokesman, the pastor Kenneth Glasgow, told AL.com Thursday that Justice has been on a hunger strike since Oct. 21.
“Kinetic Justice [is] in fear of his life [and] will not eat any of the food they have tried to give him,” Glasgow said.
Horton confirmed that Justice was being held at Limestone but declined to say why he was moved there.
“The Alabama Department of Corrections does not publicly disclose the reasons for moving inmates for security concerns,” Horton said.
According to Glasgow and another Alabama inmate who goes by the name Swift Justice, Kinetic Justice’s goal for the hunger strike is to raise awareness about the way he and advocates say he has been treated by the DOC in recent months.
Swift Justice, who founded the grassroots reform group Unheard Voices and serves as a Free Alabama Movement board member, told AL.com that Kinetic Justice is retaliating against the DOC in response to authorities moving him to Limestone. He also said that Kinetic Justice is trying to keep the momentum of the Free Alabama Movement going.
Glasgow said that other inmates are engaging in hunger strikes at Holman and Limestone.
“Other inmates have joined in the hunger strike and have vowed not to eat also until they move Kinetic Justice back to Holman or St. Clair,” Glasgow said.
Glasgow also said that the water supply to Kinetic Justice’s cell has been cut off in an attempt to get him to end his strike. Glasgow called the tactic “human torture.”
Kinetic Justice is a major player in the national coordinated strike effort launched by inmates and advocacy groups last month.
As previously reported on The Root, the U.S. Department of Justice announced earlier this month that it had launched an investigation into the conditions and treatment of inmates at Alabama prisons.
Read more at AL.com.