Information is just now beginning to escape from Kinross Correctional Facility in northern Michigan, where one of the larger, more inspiring strike actions occurred on September 9. Retaliation by MDOC officials has been severe and violent. Three prisoners have turned up dead under suspicious circumstances. Find links to news reports and coverage below, and updates at https://www.facebook.com/Michigan-for-Prison-Abolition-585834328095870
Local organizations have connected and coordinated with National Lawyers Guild and IWOC as well as family members and the prisoners to get more information out and to build an effective response to the state’s violence and refusal to release information. Continue reading →
Peacefully Marching Prisoners Tear Gassed, Zip-Tied, Left Out in Rain in Retaliation
KINCHELOE, MI – More than two weeks after prisoners at Kinross Correctional Facility participated in a nationwide prison workers’ strike, the prisoners’ own accounts of what happened are beginning to emerge. Prisoners report that the facility was on lockdown from September 10 to the morning of September 22, preventing communication with their outside supporters.
Most prisoners, including kitchen staff, did not report for work on September 9 in conjunction with the nationwide work stoppage. The following morning between 400 and 500 prisoners marched peacefully in the yard. The deputy wardens came to the prisoners who communicated their grievances, including low wages, the commutation process, restrictive visitation room seating in violation of MDOC policy, high phone rates, poor quality and quantity of food provided by private contractor Trinity Services Group, the way the yard is run, living conditions that squeeze eight men into a room intended for four, no re-entry programs, no bleach for clothes, MP3 players that break easily and cannot be fixed or replaced, not enough room in the law library, not enough room in the visiting room causing some visitors to be turned away, and not being allowed to transfer to other facilities. Continue reading →
Siddique Hasan, a current prisoner at the Ohio State Penitentiary, types in his cell block.
Siddique Hasan, a self-described revolutionary from Savannah, Georgia, has been waiting for a moment like this one, when prisoners across the country band together and say “enough is enough” when it comes to being treated like a slave.
“It’s time for a broader struggle,” he told ThinkProgress during his daily phone time in Ohio’s supermax prison. “People have to lift up their voice with force and determination, and let them know that they’re dissatisfied with the way things are actually being run.”
Both protests were characterized by extremely high participation rates among inmates, which disturbed Michigan Corrections Organization officials and also got the attention of the prisons’ administration, Gautz said. “It’s definitely something the facilities took seriously,” Gautz said. “It is unusual in a high school or a prison, because there are different groups or cliques that form, to have everybody on the same page. It takes some coordination.”
When the strike spread to a third facility, The Detroit Free press reported that the MDOC suspects that “the protest at Cotton may have been instigated by a prisoner who was transferred there for assaulting a prisoner who chose to go to the chow hall during an earlier food protest at Kinross Correctional Facility in the UP, Gautz said.” On March 20th, as at least 1,000 prisoners at Kinross were refusing meals, the MDOC had this to say: