Brian Owens, Commissioner Georgia Department of Corrections 2 Martin Luther King, Jr.

Drive, SE Twin Towers-East, Room 854 Atlanta, Georgia 30334 October 14, 2010 Dear Commissioner Owens: I come to you today with grave concerns about the current conditions at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson. As of January 1, 2010, the prison has eliminated all contact visits between death row inmates and their families and clergy. In addition, the men on Death Row are under twenty-three hour lock down, allowing only one hour for phone calls, showers, and time in the yard. Furthermore, the men are subjected to strip searches, including cavity searches after coming off the block. Some men have been stripped naked and forced to remain in their cells without adequate bedding or heat. I understand that prisoner deaths led to the Department’s implementation of such measures, but these actions are harmful now and in the future. The families and friends of those who have visitation privileges should not be at the receiving end of any internal problems within the prison. Abolishing contact visits compromises privileged conversations with clergy and pastors. As a result of the implementation of non-contact visits and the uncomfortable conditions for visitors, some men have asked their family members not to visit. Visitation and nurturing relationships with family, friends, clergy and other support people are essential to the prisoners’ humanity and prison safety. Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson should restore contact visits immediately and eliminate the use of inhumane and degrading practices. Thank you for your kind consideration. Sincerely,

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