The United States incarcerates the highest number of people in the world, both in absolute and relative terms. But prisoners and abolitionists are challenging the foundations of incarceration. Over the past decade, a prisoners’ movement has arisen within facilities. Prison actions have been increasing in intensity and frequency.
What follows is a press release form April 2018 by Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, calling for a two-week national strike beginning Aug. 21, the anniversary of George Jackson’s assassination, and extending until September 9, the anniversary of the Attica Prison Rebellion in 1971. Men and women in prisons across the nation will engage in work strikes, sit-ins, boycotts, and hunger strikes. Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, is a national collective of incarcerated people who fight for human rights by providing other incarcerated people with access to legal education, resources, and assistance. The strike has endorsed by the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) and other prisoner-advocacy and abolitionist groups nationally. IWOC is working as part of this outside network to support this strike, coordinating with the strikers and following their protocols.
PRESS RELEASE: NATIONAL PRISONERS STRIKE
AUGUST 21st – SEPTEMBER 9th 2018
released April, 2018 by Jailhouse Lawyers Speak
Men and women incarcerated in prisons across the nation declare a nationwide strike in response to the riot in Lee Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison in South Carolina. Seven comrades lost their lives during a senseless uprising that could have been avoided had the prison not been so overcrowded from the greed wrought by mass incarceration, and a lack of respect for human life that is embedded in our nation’s penal ideology. These men and women are demanding humane living conditions, access to rehabilitation, sentencing reform and the end of modern day slavery.
These are the NATIONAL DEMANDS of the men and women in federal, immigration, and state prisons:
- Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and prison policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women.
- 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.
- The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.
- 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.
- 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.
- An immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws targeting Black and brown humans.
- No imprisoned human shall be denied access to rehabilitation programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.
- State prisons must be funded specifically to offer more rehabilitation services.
- Pell grants must be reinstated in all US states and territories.
- 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.
1. Call during phone zaps.
Join the “anti-repression army”. When prisoners face retaliation for striking, we light up the facilities phones: prisons need darkness to operate. If we’re all watching, we reinforce prisoners’ power. Make the calls when announced! Encourage others! 5 minute of your time reduces someone’s time in solitary by 5 minutes.
- Follow and Share,
Media, inside updates, and phone actions announced here:
twitter @jailLawspeak @iww_iwoc
Share the strikers press release:
- Direct Outreach
Postering, social media, banner drops, talking face to face with other groups, creating your own media, contact your political representatives with these demands. Make the nation take a look at their demands! A principal goal of the strike is to raise awareness and have their voices heard. Awareness also directly translates to protection against repression and retaliation, which are vicious and already happening.
Approach any group you belong to, church, union, etc, to endorse the strike. This matters because visibility and awareness directly protect against repression and retaliation.
Organizations can register in solidarity at:
- Connect Locally and Nationally
Media Requests for Strikers: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meda Requests for IWOC: email@example.com
National networking: firstname.lastname@example.org
Get involved locally: email@example.com//@iwoc_Oakland