The lockdown of 47,000 prisoners in all 25 Pennsylvania prisons began Aug. 29, 2018, and lasted for 12 days. Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary John Wetzel backed by Gov. Tom Wolf said the lockdown was an emergency measure to protect prison guards. They claimed there was widespread illness of guards from physical contact with synthetic drugs. This is false. The lockdown looks like it was a planned pre-emptive action so that the National Prison Strike didn’t spread to Pennsylvania prisons. The “drug emergency” was a pretext to isolate, repress and control prisoners.
This prisoner-led strike is not only about their list of 10 demands; it’s a clear call for their human rights! This is no small feat – and it’s dangerous! These men and women are putting their lives on the line – for themselves and for us. The retaliation began weeks before the strike even began. Don’t think for one moment this isn’t also about us here on the outside. Most of us are complicit in the horrors that have taken place in our nation’s prisons.
Prisoners on the west side of Chippewa Correctional Facility at Kincheloe, Michigan, have been locked down since Jan. 30, 2018 – eight men crammed into cubicles designed for four, in old, mold-infested cattle barns containing approximately 320 men each, sick and healthy alike – under the guise of a “quarantine” for the influenza virus epidemic that has spread throughout North America and the world.
It’s been a hard silence for the past five days since Operation PUSH launched a statewide prisoner strike in the Florida Department of Corrections prison system (FDOC or FDC) coinciding with Martin Luther King Day. Information from prisoners is coming in at a much slower pace than people on the outside had anticipated, but reports are slowly and steadily making their way through the walls, despite many obstacles.
There is one place in the U.S. where slavery is still constitutionally legal: in prisons. The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, passed in 1864, abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. But prisoners held in this enslavement are organizing resistance. Brave prisoners within the Florida state prison system have organized themselves into a month-long work strike called Operation Push. It began on Jan. 15, Martin Luther King Day. In a phone interview, an anonymous prisoner-activist specifically linked the strike to King’s legacy of protest against racism and economic injustice.
The following interview was conducted over a week after Hurricane Harvey hit. Rachel’s husband is incarcerated in Beaumont Federal Prison, located about an hour outside of Houston and 40 minutes from the Gulf of Mexico. Although some local media have denounced the conditions in the prison, in general, the media have remained silent on the plight of those who are incarcerated.
Florida Department of Corrections has placed all of its 97,000 inmates on lockdown, just days before the Aug. 19 Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March on Washington, D.C., calling for an end to the legalized slavery of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Cracking down on the mobility of inmates by correctional officials has become a common tactic to prevent prisoners from joining outside supporters in calling for an end to mass incarceration.
On Feb. 1, scores of men in Delaware’s largest prison, the Vaughn Correctional Center, took over one of the buildings in their facility. The prison, built in 1971 and known for its serious overuse of solitary confinement, is one of the state’s most severely overcrowded and punitive facilities. Hoping to push the state to improve living conditions at Vaughn, the prisoners didn’t just take control of Building C – they also took guards hostage. And to make the public aware of why they were protesting, they called the media.
Despite scant media coverage, the largest prison strike in history is entering its third week. Retaliation is rampant, both against the organizers in prison and against the Bay View for spreading the word. The Free Alabama Movement that started the prison-strikes-to-end-slavery campaign is defeating a violent divide-and-conquer scheme to turn prisoner against prisoner with a Peace Summit, reminiscent of the Agreement to End Hostilities in California, which this month is entering its fifth year of keeping the peace.
Anyone relying on mainstream media wouldn’t know it, but the U.S. prison system is shaking up right now. No one knows how big the initial strike was yet, but the information is slowly leaking out between the cracks in the prisons’ machinery of obscurity and isolation. Over the weekend more than 50 protests erupted across the country and around the world in solidarity with the Sept. 9 nationwide prisoner work stoppage and protest.
During the month of April, at least 100 of those incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center, about an hour outside of Chicago, Illinois, participated in a boycott of the overpriced phone calls, commissary goods and vending machines. “Mass incarceration is a luxury business,” stated Patrick Pursley, one of the men who joined in the boycott. The boycott comes at a time of growing demonstrations led by those inside U.S. prisons.
Two women writing to expose abuse that has terrorized them at CIW (California Institution for Women) wish not to reveal their identities for fear of more retaliation. We have no voice. There is no one to help us. PLEASE HELP! How you can help: Contact the CIW warden, Kimberly Hughes, at California Institution for Women, 16756 Chino-Corona Road, Corona, CA 92880, 909-597-1771.
The CDCR is proposing new regulations on “security threat groups” or “gangs,” which will be implemented after a regular public hearing, to be held on April 3. The Step Down Program, which CDCR has been executing as a pilot program, is apparently being added to CDCR’s vast number of regulations. The implementation of the official Step Down Program comes while a second legislative hearing on Feb. 11 has been organized.
I am compelled to share with your readers the evidence I have uncovered while doing research into my own case after I was framed by corrupt guards and convicted of murder at Folsom Prison in 1984. I have uncovered the real intentions behind the implementation of the deadly “integrated yard policy” and its bloody history at Folsom Prison.
What is wrong with prisoners asking for better living conditions and pay for work? What is wrong with prisoners requesting better educational programs, better religious programs, better rehabilitative programs or any useful programs at all instead of the current ones in place, which we hardly are even allowed to attend?
Two days after the lockdown at Hancock State Prison was lifted, my father was placed in lockdown for making and leading congregational salaat (prayer). He was then told that he would never walk the compound again and they would assault and tear gas the Muslims if they continued to make congregational prayers.
Prisoners in the Security Housing Units, SHUs, at Pelican Bay and Corcoran state prisons in California are beginning an indefinite hunger strike on July 1, 2011, to protest the cruel and inhumane conditions of their imprisonment in what is being called “an unusual show of racial unity.” Breaking news: Prisoners at Centinela have joined the hunger strike. A prisoner there reports: “Only a few inmates are walking the yard. No Blacks or Hispanics have left their cells. No one has gone to work. He said all the races are united in this fight.”
In a protest spreading through Georgia’s prison system, inmates are striking for better conditions and to be paid for their work, which they're now forced to do for free. They've locked themselves down in peaceful protest but are being punished violently, some beatings resulting in broken ribs and one man beaten beyond recognition. Sign the petitions and learn other ways you can help.