Ohio prisoners speak! A year after the 2018 nationwide prison strike

In this special bonus episode released on the anniversary of the 2018 nationwide prisoner strike we feature the voices of two Ohio prisoners, David Easley and Mark Hinkston. David and Mark discuss the state repression they and their comrades faced in the wake of the 2018 prison strikes and ways to support prison rebels.

You can contact David and Mark at the following addresses,

David Easley #306400
Toledo Correctional Institution
2001 E. Central Ave.
Toledo OH 43608
Twitter: @OH4prisoner

If want to join a study group with David on Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, W.E.B. Du Bois’ Black Reconstruction and Angela Davis Are Prisons Obsolete? Contact him via JPay or snail mail. Check out his interview on The Final Straw .

Mark Hinkston
Toledo Correctional Institution
2001 E. Central Ave.
Toledo OH 43608
Check out The Final Straw’s recent interview with Mustafa.

Image credit: Moliere Dimanche

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Click here to display the episode transcript.

Kaif: Welcome to Rustbelt Abolition Radio, my name is Kaif Syed. In this special bonus episode, released on the anniversary of the 2018 nationwide prison strike, we speak with two Ohio prisoners– David Easley and Mark Hinkston (aka Mustafa) — who called us from inside Toledo Correctional Institution. Both Easley and Mustafa were involved in the 2018 prison strike and experienced brutal retaliation as a result of their activities. They both reflect on the prison strike, state repression, what sort of steps need to be taken in order for immediate needs to be met inside, as well as on broader abolitionist non-reformist reforms.


David Easley: Hey everybody, revolutionary greetings. My name is David Easley. Everybody refers to me as “comrade Easley” I’m with the the Ohio Valley IWOC. Since last year, we’ve been organizing the international prison strike and, I’ve been dealing with a couple of situations of retaliation. Since the 2018 national prison strike, I was transferred out to Supermax, had my TV destroyed …. One of our comrades, Keith Lamar, and he wrote the book “Condemned.” He was also…. The attorney general of the state of Ohio recently filed a motion on behalf of the state to execute Keith Lamar. And they granted the motion in December. It set his execution date for November of 2023. And our other comrade is Siddique Abdullah Hasan. He organized the work stoppages during the 2018 to the prison strike as well and the OSP [The Ohio State Penitentiary]. So anyway, what I was calling in was to talk about prison abolition. I’m in the state of Ohio and I’m looking for any type of outside support from abolitionists, anarchy, IWOC, or want any type of support or anybody interested in helping them.

David Easley: I’m organizing the Right to Vote campaign in the state of Ohio. And Imani Sawari we’re working together on the Right to Vote campaign across the country. So far there is 11 states and I’d like Ohio to be the 12th state. Many people have concerns about reform tactics. And recently I’ve been discussing with people about what Ruth Wilson GIlmore, the author of the book The Golden Gulag, referred to as the non-reformist reform and other people agree that if you have the right to vote in prison, those are one of the strategies and tactics you can use to offset and destroy capitalism. So if anybody’s interested, I would appreciate it if you reach out to me. So far we got the Social Justice Institute, Case Western Reserve, Oberlin college and the Ohio Democratic Socialists of America all involved.

David Easley: We’re organizing the Right to Vote campaign in the state of Ohio and recently, Ohio and Michigan, they lost, they lost the lawsuit, the gerrymandering lawsuit in these states. And it’s very important that people that understand that best raising all of these issues about gerrymandering. A lot of people know about political gerrymandering, but they don’t know about prison gerrymandering. And so it’s very important that we win the Right to Vote in the state of Ohio and, and all throughout the other 50 states. So we could also just gerrymandering then because like recently I’ve read the article in the Worker’s World newspaper called “Black bodies creating white power.” Where they would take prisoners from urban areas and they lock them up in these prisons in mostly all-white rural country areas, redneck areas, and they took the prisoners…they take the prison population and they count it not from the area that he’s from, but the area that he’s locked up in, and this is results in a higher electoral college count. And in this case, in the state of Ohio, the districting maps is in a way designed to… they say that right now Ohio Republicans have a better advantage for the 2020 campaign. And this is how Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. But Donald Trump end up becoming the president because he won the electoral college. So it’s really important that people, especially in the state of Ohio, look into this Right to Vote Campaign. Like I say, reach out to me.

David Easley: After the 2018 prison strike, we had another strike on November 2nd and uh, we refused to come back inside the prison and they got the SRT [Security Response ] team, which is equivalent to the SWAT team. And they came out. I’m at the Toledo correctional facility, may I add, in Toledo, Ohio. TOCI. And the SWAT team. The prison SWAT team came up there and they shot us with rubber bullets, and mace, and us that we was protesting about solitary confinement and different issues. But it’s still an ongoing situation. Solitary confinement here, is terrible. Recently the United Nations passed international laws to ban the use of mentally ill prisoners in solitary confinement. Well, Ohio was compliant at first and then all of a sudden, in the past year, they’re no longer compliant for solitary confinement laws.

David Easley: They created a block where they took a bunch of mentally ill prisoners in solitary confinement to here in Toledo and they’re not giving them no mental health treatment. And we was reporting on the suicides throughout the state – in Lucasville Correctional Facility, Toledo correctional facility and OSP in Youngstown. It was a guy that killed itself in saliva named Dan Butcher, a little young white guy. He told the officer he was suicidal. CO walked away. And uh, when he came back, Dan Butcher was dead. This was here in Toledo last year in July. And they brought him down the stairs and blood was coming out his mouth and everything. And so what we need more than anything also, we should find some type of legal support from these, um, these nonprofit legal entities like the ACLU of Ohio, or ACLU National Prison Project, Center for Constitutional Rights. Anybody that could help organize a class action lawsuit or look into these issues of solitary confinement in the state of Ohio. I have been in solitary confinement November, October, November, 2017. So it’s been a few years for me and uh, they pretty much targeted me, Hassan, and different members of IWOC because of their, their opinion, we’re organizing prison work stoppages throughout the state and we’re boycotting. We also dealing with heavy mailroom censorship ’cause we’re trying to do a study group.

David Easley: And anybody that’s interested in the study group you can go on the website, “prison abolition syllabus 2.0.” And the books that we’re reading for the study group is Frantz Fanon “The Wretched of the Earth,” WEB Du Bois’ “Black reconstruction,” Angela Davis “Are prisons obsolete?” And one of the movie screenings is The Great Incarcerator Part one and Part two. And until your story “Ghost Hunting,” and “3000 nights,” produced by bell film institute (?). Recently, they banned a book called “Condemned” gale by Keith Lamar. And like I said, one our comrades that’s on death row. So like, um, it’s been a lot of retaliate what our comrades Sean Swain is connected with The Final Straw podcast and recently about three, four, months ago they transfer Sean Swain outta state and sent him to Virginia. So… Like I’ve been hearing about a lot of out-of-state transfers and I was transferred to supermax and like they, they just transferring us around on shipping us around and trying to keep those, um, trying to keep us […] and blocking phone numbers from outside. IWOC members. I was also in communication with the Free Ohio Movement who is also in on this. Central Ohio IWOC and Ohio Valley IWOC. Brother Washington Muhammad, of the Toledo Nation of Islam, Black Lives Matter, they came up in the front parking lot during the national prison strike last year and showed their support. And it was like 15 members out there with WTO news and the Toledo […] with banners that’s supporting the hunger strikes and work stoppages across the state and across the country for National prison strike. So, yeah I’d like to give a shout out to Keith Lamar, Hassan on death row in the state of Ohio, and my brother Mustafa who is aka Mark Hinkston his number is #A707808 y’all be hearing from him soon. So before I go , like I want to give a shout out to, thanks to all the people out there that support the movement and revolutionary greetings to everybody, including, Amani Sawari, Ben Turk, Bursts, The Free Ohio Movement, Brianna, and definitely Oberlin college, Jasper, the Social Justice Institute, Rustbelt Abolition radio, The Final Straw, y’all been a great inspiration and the support is wonderful form everybody keep doing what you’re doin’.


Mustafa: First off, I want to introduce myself to the people. My name is Mark Hinston, but the comrades call me Mustafa. Currently I’m a captive in the Toledo Correctional Institution, one of the many modern day plantations built to warehouse the neo-slave. I’m 37 years of age. And like most people in the United States of Complicity, I have been trapped in the system, and therefore a slave by the thirteenth constitutional amendment since adolescence. I was merely 11 when I went to the juvenile detention facility in Cincinnati, Ohio, never ever feeling completely free from the system. On probation, parole, etc, 5 years later I was tried as an adult at the age of 16 and sentenced to do 6 years in the Ohio Department of Corrections where no real rehabilitation is offered — the ODOC is what they call it. With that being said, you can understand that my experiences have led me to be an advocate to abolish prisons, the prison industrial complex in general, and the justice system with its policies, rules and procedures that almost guarantee the conviction of the minority or poor people of the world. Also, free the slaves! Destroy the thirteenth constitutional amendment! Support for the sister Assata Shakur! Revolutionaries are not born, they are created by environment and circumstance.

Mustafa: Now I want to take this time to mention a few activists that evolved into the movement due to the current state of oppressive conditions in the world we exist in today. Stay strong brother Imam Siddique Abdullah Hassan! Stay strong Keith Lamar! Stay strong brother (inaudible)! Free the Lucasville 5! Thank you for your activism sister Amani Sawari! Thank you for struggling behind these walls brother David Easley, Matt Hinkston, and all the other righteous brothers and sisters fighting for the righteous cause of the people! Power to the people!

Mustafa: The struggle continues. It must continue. There are some brave brothers and sisters here in the United States of Corruption fighting for the same thing! The right to vote for those that are incarcerated, the right to have social life, the right have human dignity…I truly believe that when prisoners have the right to vote, and only then, will our issues be heard. Stop mass incarceration. Stop prolonged solitary confinement. Abolish the death penalty. The rapper/musician Meek Mill supported an organization called Reform Alliance, and their goal is to get a million people out of the system within the next 5 years. But this will only be an achievable goal if prisoners have the right to vote, and therefore are seen as human beings and not stock or cattle! I urge the Reform Alliance movement to get behind the prisoner’s right to vote, and eventually get with abolition of this slave system altogether!


Kaif: Thanks for tuning in to this bonus episode of Rustbelt Abolition Radio. You can listen to past episodes on our website at http://www.rustbeltradio.org. This show was co-produced by the Rustbelt Abolition Radio crew: a Maria, Kaif Syed, and Alejo Stark. Original music by Bad Infinity.