Save Our Soldiers

Calling All Comrades


On October 3rd 2002, Robert "Seth" Hayes, a former member of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army and a political prisoner jailed for the past 30 years was moved against his will from the hospital ward where he had been receiving treatment for Hepatitis C and type 2 Diabetes to the general prison population in Clinton Correctional Facility (CCF) in Dannemora, New York. The transfer on October 3rd and the consequent elimination of the minimal level of medical care that Mr. Hayes was previously receiving has resulted in a dire medical emergency that could result in a serious deterioration of Seth's medical condition.

Diabetes and Hepatitis C. are dangerous illnesses, which are potentially fatal if not properly treated. Diabetes can lead to a wide range of problems including: heart and blood vessel disease, skin disorders, kidney disease, nerve damage, and it may lead to blindness and damage to extremities if it is not properly treated. Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus who's symptoms include jaundice, fatigue, abdominal pain and nausea, and which causes liver disease in 20% of its victims and eventually kills 5% of those infected. Mr. Hayes has long been affected by symptoms of dizziness and weakness, headaches caused by pressure building up behind his eyes, loss of feeling in his extremities, and low energy, but at least he was receiving some degree of medical monitoring while in the hospital ward.

However, now that he has been returned to the general prison population, Mr. Hayes no longer receives any monitoring of his blood sugar levels, and John Mitchell, the CCF administrator responsible for hospital facilities, has refused to allow Seth or any of the 40-50 other diabetics in the prison to purchase personal blood sugar testing units from their own funds. This means that all diabetics in the prison are injected with a pre-arranged amount of insulin regardless of how much blood sugar they currently have in their bodies. Seth has also been trying to gain "disabled status" through the American Disabilities Act due to the debilitating effects that his diabetes has on him. Such status would result in Seth being able to legally refuse to work in conditions that negatively affect his health, but to date; the prison administration has refused to accept Seth's requests.

Furthermore, Seth is part way through a six to twelve month drug treatment to address the damage done to his liver by Hep C. Despite the fact that he has been prescribed regular doses of the drugs Pegetron and Rebetron (which have numerous serious side effects including driving up blood sugar and blood pressure) the prison administration has cut off all monitoring of his medical status, claiming that it is no longer needed.

The US Supreme Court has previously ruled that since prisoners are wards of the state, they are entitled to a minimum of medical care, at least on par with the minimum available to those outside of the prison system. It is an outrage that despite repeated pressure from the prisoners at Clinton Correction Facility, the prison administration has done nothing to provide them with the bare minimum of medical treatment required. Technically speaking, this deliberate indifference and refusal of medical monitoring for prisoners such as Seth is nothing less than a death sentence with an indeterminate execution date, mandated and carried out by the prison administration.

We call upon you to phone, fax and write letters to John Mitchell, the administrative nurse responsible for transferring Seth out of the hospital and to Lester Wright, the Chief Medical officer of the New York Department of Correctional Services who is responsible for all health matters in the State of New York to demand the following:

1.  That Mr. Hayes be immediately re-admitted to the hospital ward and that he be provided with twice daily monitoring of his blood sugar levels and full monitoring and all necessary treatment for his Hepatitis C;

2.  That all diabetics at CCF be entitled to receive twice daily blood sugar tests upon request, and that all diabetics in the prison be authorized to purchase their own personal blood sugar monitoring units.

3.  That Mr. Hayes be recognized as disabled due to the effects of diabetes according to the provisions of the American Disabilities Act. [Please note: when speaking to prison officials please refer to Seth as Robert "Seth" Hayes, prison ID number 79A2280. Claiming to be defending Seth's rights to confidentiality, the prison officials will refuse to talk about any specifics of Seth's case with you unless you are a family member, and they will not explain to you why they are refusing Seth treatment. Therefore, when you call, it is best for you to tell them that you are aware of their appalling disregard for the medical rights of Seth and other prisoners and to re-iterate the demands listed above without asking questions requiring them to answer any questions about Seth's or any other prisoner's condition. If you have any questions about this or any other matters, please get in touch with the Robert Seth Hayes Emergency Medical Committee at:

or at the address below.

The two prison officials to contact are:

Dr. Lester Wright,
Chief Medical Officer, Department of Correction Services,
Albany, NY, 12226, USA. Phone: 518-457-7072

John Mitchell, Nurse Administrator
Clinton Correctional Facility
Box 2000
Dannemora, NY. 12929, USA.
Phone (518) 492-2511 x6100.

[Note: if Mr. Mitchell is rude or unprofessional to you when you call him, please lodge a complaint with Superintendent Daniel Senkowski at (518) 492-2511 x2000].

Remind these officials of the New York State Department of Correctional Services mission statement which states that they are to retain inmates in safe custody until released by law and to offer stable and humane "community" environments. Denying Seth medical treatment goes directly against this mission statement that these officers are sworn to uphold.

Please get in touch with the Seth Hayes Emergency Medical Committee at the address below to let us know if there are any other ways in which you can help us out, or to inform us that you have called or written the prison authorities. Your timely action can make a very real difference in helping to preserve the health and even save the life of a long time freedom fighter and political prisoner unfairly jailed for more than 30 years. Act Now!

To get in touch with Robert "Seth" Hayes, please write to him at:

Robert "Seth" Hayes #74A-2280
Clinton Correctional Facility
Box 2001, Dannemora, New York
12929, USA.

To contact members of the Robert "Seth" Hayes Emergency Medical Committee, please call 514-848-7585,
Email: or write:

Robert "Seth" Hayes Emergency Medical Committee,
c/o Quebec Public Interest Research Group
2130 Mackay, Montreal, QC, H3G-2J1

To hear a September 23rd 2002 interview with Seth please check out:

The Robert Seth Hayes Emergency Medical has sent out this text
Committee in consultation with and under the direction of Robert Seth Hayes. October 23rd, 2002.