Framed by the state..
Any news updates on this case will be listed at the foot of this item
The Lucasville 5 are five prisoners who were framed for the murder of snitches and guards in the 1993 Lucasville prison riot. The 1993 riot and hostage taking was one of the longest in u.s. prison history, and yet it ended relatively peacefully.
It was the 5 who negotiated a nonviolent resolution to the hostage taking, but for this they were targeted as “ringleaders” by the state and sentenced to death, framed for the murders of snitches and a prison guard during the uprising. You can read more of this here >
The Lucasville 5 are:
- Keith LaMar – www.keithlamar.org
- George Skatzes – www.georgeskatzes.org
- Jason Robb – www.jasonrobb.org
- Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan – www.prisonsolidarity.org
- James Were – (Nameer Abdul Mateen)
There also is a website of a group preparing the 20th commemoration of this uprising for next year, April 2013: www.lucasvilleamnesty.org
Since 1993 the Five were held in solitary confinement, 23 hours a day – for eighteen years. Finally, in early 2011, a hunger strike by the prisoners forced some concessions from the prisoncrats, loosening their isolation conditions.
The case is pretty complicated to summarise, but it involves 5 people on death row and more people who received life or very long sentences, because they did not accept a plea for a ‘more lenient sentence’ because they were innocent. And when they went to trial, other prisoners who did accept a plea bargain testified against them.
So snitch testimony was used (these prisoners testifying had made a deal: say what the prosecutor wants you to say and for this get a lenient sentence). Some of these were the actual murderers of the 9 prisoners and one guard killed during the uprising. Those condemned to death were negotiators, leaders, who did not kill nor did they tell anyone to kill. They were framed.
During the riot prisoners of different races and groups came together, and on the walls was written: “Convict Unity”, “Black and White Together”, “Convict Race”.
The riot was started because of the bad management of the prison, and it is said that the warden wanted to turn it into a supermax prison, and all he needed for the ok was a riot. He did his best to make this happen, and in 1998 Ohio State Penitentiary opened in Youngstown (so Lucasville did not get its supermax prison).
For more information on the riot and its aftermath see this publication from historian and lawyer Staughton Lynd:
Lucasville: the Untold Story of a Prison Uprising
Staughton Lynd is also writing 10 essays to reconstruct the prison uprising:
Essay 1 – Re-examining the Lucasville uprising
Lucasville prison riot: 10 years later
6 April 2003
Video: Lucasville, Ohio Riot Inmate George Speech
Broadcast in 1993