Today, August 21st, groups of prisoners nation-wide plan to go on coordinated strikes against prison slavery, inhumane conditions, denial of rights, denial of rehabilitation programs, and unfair sentencing. Read their demands below, or view original and more information at http://sawarimi.org/national-prison-strike
“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 The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.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 The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole.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!
We all agree to spread this strike throughout the prisons of Ameri$$$a! From August 21st to September 9th, 2018, men and women in prisons across the nation will strike in the following manner:
1. Work Strikes: Prisoners will not report to assigned jobs. Each place of detention will determine how long its strike will last. Some of these strikes may translate into a local list of demands designed to improve conditions and reduce harm within the prison.
2. Sit-ins : In certain prisons, men and women will engage in peaceful sit – in protests.
3. Boycotts: All spending should be halted. We ask those outside the walls not to make financial judgments for those inside. Men and women on the in side will inform you if they are participating in this boycott.
4. Hunger Strikes: Men and women shall refuse to eat.”
How to Support?
incarceratedworkers.org has a great post about solidarity actions, and a lot of media that can be shared to inform others, including great posters like this one:
Poster by Melanie Cervantes, founder of Dignidad Rebelde.
Florida Solidarity Call in:
Relevant Texas contacts:
Note: Be cautious about naming any incarcerated person when contacting TDCJ. Retaliation is a problem; sometimes it is minor and sometimes it is a major issue. Try to make a general statement in regards to the strike and conditions, and always get permission before calling on behalf of a loved one or friend.
The Board of Criminal Justice–
The board has a meeting coming up one August 24th in Austin and I suggest that we bombard them with these demands, and that those who are able, sign up to speak ahead of time (and prepare for them to limit your time) or protest outside the meeting, etc. I can speak from personal experience in saying they make the public feel very unwelcome and make addressing them as difficult as possible. Be prepared and consider alternatives to fitting your speech into a minute or two that they may choose to allow.
About Public Comment: https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=37&pt=6&ch=151&rl=4
Upcoming Meetings of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice
Public Comment Period
2nd and 4th meetings of every year
August 24, 2018
Omni Southpark Hotel
4140 Governor’s Row
Austin, Texas 78744
October 18, 2018
Wyndham Garden Hotel
3401 South IH 35
Austin, Texas 78741
Texas Board of Criminal Justice
PO Box 13084
Austin, Texas 78711
Members(who are appointed by the governor rather than elected and face pretty much no public oversight): https://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/tbcj/brd_members.html
General issues concerning the agency’s operation and policy and procedures, issues from the public relating to secure facilities (prison units, state jails, and substance abuse felony punishment facilities), and any specific concerns regarding offenders confined in these types of facilities.
PO Box 99
Huntsville, TX 77342-0099
Phone: (936) 437-4927 or toll free hotline (844) 476-1289
(Toll free hotline will be open Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
Fax: (936) 437-4930
Contact the Executive Directors of TDCJ:
Their information can be found here: https://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/divisions/es/exec_executive_director.html#exec_dir
In state government:
House Jurisprudence Committee:
( Note: Leader Joe Moody is an advocate for reform)
Senate Criminal Justice Committee:
(Note: Sen. Whitmire is sometimes responsive to requests for help with TDCJ issues)
Follow developments with the hashtag #prisonstrike or by following the groups in the first part of this post.