Article by Bryan Howard
August 20, 2018
Prisoners in 17 different states will be going on strike on August 21st for prison reform. The Protest will go from August 21st through September 9th, which is meant to mark the anniversary of the 1971 inmate uprising at Attica prison in upstate New York, which resulted in the deaths of 33 prisoners and 10 correctional officers.
During the Protest, most inmates will cease working their prison jobs while others will go on a “hunger strike.” Members of this organized protest will either sit in a common area or stay in their cells.
“Prisoners want to be valued as contributors to our society,” protest organizer Amani Sawari told Vox.
“The main leverage that an inmate has is their own body,” Sawari said. “Prisons cannot run without prisoners’ work.”
The protest is being organized by Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, a prisoner-led faction of Industrial Workers of the World. IWOC’s mission is to “end prison slavery.”
List of 10 demands:
- Immediate improvement of prison conditions, as well as policies that “recognize the humanity” of prisoners.
- Immediate end to “prison slavery.” Inmates are asking to be paid commensurate wages.
- The rescission of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, which would allow prisoners to adequately voice grievances.
- The rescission of The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act so that inmates “have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole.”
- Immediate end of “overcharging, over-sentencing, and parole denials” of black inmates.
- Immediate end to “racist gang enhancement laws.”
- Immediate end to inmates being “denied access to rehabilitation programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.”
- Additional rehabilitation programs in state prisons.
- The reinstatement of Pell Grants in all U.S. states and territories.
- The restoration of voting rights for “all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, and so-called ‘ex-felons.’”
The activists claim the 13th Amendment abolishes Prison Slavery. However, that is not what the 13th Amendment says.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.