Prisoners Across the Country Are Striking Against Severe Mistreatment

American prisoners in 17 states just kicked off a 19-day prison strike. The Nationwide Prison Strike is a peaceful, ongoing act of disobedience that aims to bring more attention to the injustice perpetuated by the justice system.

Sign this petition to express solidarity with the striking inmates.

The protest is predominately the effort of incarcerated inmates, with some logistical help from allies on the outside. For the duration of the strike, prisoners will engage in hunger strikes, not report to their workstations and refuse to spend money that goes toward private interests via collect calls or commissary sales.

“Fundamentally, it’s a human rights issue,” writes the group Jailhouse Lawyers Speak in a call to action. “Prisoners understand they are being treated as animals… Every day prisoners are harmed due to conditions of confinement. For some of us, it’s as if we are already dead, so what do we have to lose?”

Although the Nationwide Prison Strike is peaceful, that doesn’t mean it will be met in kind by the prison system. Participants expect to be beaten and punished by guards for refusing to do their jobs. In a Gainesville, Florida prison, the warden already put perceived leaders into solitary confinement ahead of the strike to try to prevent further organization.

Over 800,000 American inmates work a job within their prisons on a daily basis. Inmates compare this system to slavery since they earn pennies on the dollar for what similar work would earn on the outside. Worse still, in some states, it’s mandatory, not optional, to have a prison job, making it forced labor.

In California, for example, 2,000 inmates – including some minors – have been dispatched to fight the state’s wildfires. They’re being made to risk their lives for $3 a day, which is why Care2 has a petition demanding they either compensate these inmates better or end the program altogether.

Prison labor isn’t the only contentious issue on the table for the inmates. They’ve developed a list of demands that include:

  • Increasing rehabilitation programs, which should also be offered to violent offenders
  • Restoring the voting rights of incarcerated people and convicted felons
  • No longer definitively sentencing people to life in prison (or death) so that prisoners may maintain hope and desire to rehabilitate
  • Changing the racial inequality that reigns supreme in the justice system
  • Establishing a venue to address human rights violations that occur in prison

What it comes down to is treating the incarcerated with some baseline decency. No one expects prison to be a picnic, but it’s excessively cruel to strip them of their humanity, hope and constitutional rights, and then nudge them into slave labor.

Take Action

Though participation will occur primarily within the prisons, you don’t need to be locked up in a cell to call for these reasonable improvements. Sign this petition to express your solidarity with the peaceful strike and their requests for change within the prison industrial complex.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

50 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y2 months ago

thanks

SEND
Jack Y
Jack Y2 months ago

thanks

SEND
Hannah K
Past Member 4 months ago

thank you

SEND
Chad Anderson
Chad A5 months ago

Solidarity.

SEND
Chad Anderson
Chad A5 months ago

Thank you.

SEND
Ann B
Ann B5 months ago

if the punishment fits the crime!!!!!! remember we use to have chain gangs and maybe that will give murders and child abusers another thot before jail sentence is passed also animal abusers deserve this as well

SEND
Amanda M
Amanda M5 months ago

Freya H, don't forget the people who are awaiting trial or have been sentenced who have been WRONGFULLY CHARGED OR CONVICTED of crimes they didn't commit! They don't deserve to be treated worse than animals! Sarah Hill, what prisons do you see having these luxuries? And people awaiting trial who can't afford the ridiculously high bail definitely don't have this sort of thing! This system is based on the "money talks and bullshit walks" principle, meaning that the system only works for the wealthy and well-connected. If you're poor/working class and living paycheck to paycheck, you're screwed.

SEND
danii p
danii p5 months ago

Tyfs

SEND
danii p
danii p5 months ago

Tyfs

SEND
danii p
danii p5 months ago

Tyfs

SEND