Georgia inmate advocates and relatives said guards at one state institution have retaliated with violence against prisoners who staged a protest and refused to report to work details last month, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Marie Williams, whose son is an inmate, said another inmate called her on her son's behalf and said officers “were hitting inmates with hammers.” An agency spokeswoman denied the allegations.
Tensions in some prisons date back to early September when tobacco was banned throughout the prison system. Inmates began planning a protest for Dec. 9. Once the date arrived, the list of grievances also included the quality of the food and the lack of fruits and vegetables, the level of medical care, the availability of education and job training programs, parole decisions, and overall conditions. The NAACP, which has been investigating inmates' complaints and their allegations of abuse, said the organization plans to file a lawsuit or a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice that included reports that handcuffed inmates were assaulted. State NAACP President Ed DuBose said prison guards had beaten at least three inmates so badly that one was in a hospital intensive care unit, another required staples in his head and a third was beaten beyond recognition. “We believe there's more” abused prisoners, DuBose said. “They [prison officials] won't let us get close to them.”