Prisoners in at least 17 states have coordinated a nationwide prison strike to end inhumane treatment behind bars.
Click here to forward their very reasonable demands to your state and federal elected officials.
From August 21 - September 9, 2018, prisoners will participate in work stoppages, sit-in strikes, commissary boycotts, and hunger strikes to demand major reforms to the country's prison and criminal justice systems, including “humane living conditions, access to rehabilitation, sentencing reform, and the end of modern day slavery.”
In recognition of the history of slave rebels and prison resistors, the nationwide prison strike is planned for August 21, the day Nat Turner led an uprising of slaves in 1831 and the 47th anniversary of the death of George Jackson, a prominent African-American prison advocate; until September 9, the 47th anniversary of the Attica prison rebellion, the largest prison uprising of the 1970s prison movement, in which more than 40 people were killed.
Organizers of the action have released a list of ten demands directed at elected officials:
1. Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and prison policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women.
2. An immediate end to prison slavery. All persons imprisoned in any place of detention under United States jurisdiction must be paid the prevailing wage in their state or territory for their labor.
3. The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.
4. The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole. No human
shall be sentenced to Death by Incarceration or serve any sentence without the possibility of parole.
5. An immediate end to the racial overcharging, over-sentencing, and parole denials of Black and brown humans. Black humans shall no longer be denied parole because the victim of the crime was white, which is a particular problem in southern states.
6. An immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws targeting Black and brown humans.
7. No imprisoned human shall be denied access to rehabilitation programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.
8. State prisons must be funded specifically to offer more rehabilitation services.
9. Pell grants must be reinstated in all US states and territories.
10. The voting rights of all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, and so-called “ex-felons” must be counted. Representation is demanded. All voices count.
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A spokesperson for the strike called on Americans to support the protest, noting that prisoners produce many of the products people use every day in the outside world—including Starbucks packaging, state license plates, and furniture.
"Prisoners want to be valued as contributors to our society. Every single field and industry is affected on some level by prisons, from our license plates to the fast food that we eat to the stores that we shop at," Amani Sawari told Vox. "So we really need to recognize how we are supporting the prison industrial complex through the dollars that we spend."
Imprisoned people have also fought the wildfires raging in states like California and Georgia, earning a stipend of $2 per day and sometimes working 72-hour shifts in order to save the state up to $100 million per year. Over the decades, a number of prisoners have lost their lives on the job.
Currently incarcerated people across state borders and in various types of correctional institutions and detention facilities have mobilized in response to the calls to action, with many facilities issuing their own additional or regionally specific demands. Actions come at great individual and collective risk with communication restrictions and increased potential for retaliation. Retaliation against individual prominent prisoners seen as agitators or leaders of the strike has already been documented in several states.
The 2018 nationwide prisoner strike demands and calls for action have already spread widely, and the movement for outside support has been growing to meet it. The Nationwide Prison Strike has been supported by a network of groups including RootsAction, Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, Free Alabama Movement, the Fire Inside Collective, and Millions for Prisoners networks. The objectives of these groups is to work together to increase the capacity for the strike demands to be met.
Click here to support this worthy cause.
Additional Ways That You Can Help:
- Amplify incarcerated voices via social media using the #August21 and #prisonstrike hashtags
- Attend a solidarity demonstration. Demonstrations in solidarity with striking prisoners are planned outside prisons in Brooklyn, New York; San Quentin, California; and Bishopville as well as other cities.
- Spread the strike and word of the strike in every place of detention.
- Be prepared by making contact with people in prison, family members of prisoners, and prisoner support organizations in your state to assist in notifying the public and media on strike conditions.
- Assist in initiatives to have the votes of people in jail and prison counted in elections.
After taking action, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends.
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-- The RootsAction.org Team
P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.
> Vox: America’s prisoners are going on strike in at least 17 states
> IWOC: Prison Strike 2018