The Georgia State Conference of the NAACP is spearheading an investigation into abuse allegations at two Georgia prisons. Last month, a fact-finding committee visited the Macon State Prison in Oglethorpe, Ga., where inmates complained of poor conditions during a statewide prisoner strike. The Georgia State Department of Corrections (DOC) agreed to allow the visit after meeting with the NAACP Georgia State Conference, an NAACP national delegation and a number of other organizations to discuss allegations of guard violence and the poor conditions that led to the peaceful strike.

According to reports, prison guards allegedly turned off heat and hot water in hopes of forcing prisoners back to work. However, inmates’ advocates say they’ve remained peaceful while petitioning for better educational opportunities, improved health care, nutritional meals and fair parole standards.

Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, said the prisoners’ demands should be considered. “The requests being made by the inmates – better access to their families, pay for their work, access to education opportunities – are not unreasonable, and could in fact lead to helping them successfully reenter society and become responsible citizens once they have served their time.”

Meanwhile, the national NAACP has called upon the United States Department of Justice, through its civil rights division, to urge federal intervention under the authority granted the department by the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act to ensure that the civil rights of Georgia State inmates are protected.