Prisoners throughout Alabama and Texas reclaim their humanity—and power—by shutting down the economic infrastructure of their prisons.
Raven Rakia For Yes!
On May 1, prison labor came to a halt in multiple prisons in Alabama, including Holman and Elmore prisons. Starting at midnight that day, prisoners stayed in their dormitories—refusing to show up for work at their assigned posts: the kitchen, the license plate manufacturing plant, the recycling plant, the food processing center, and a prison farm.
The prisoners’ demands were pretty simple: basic human rights, educational opportunities, and a reform of Alabama’s harsh sentencing guidelines and parole board.
The labor strikes are a turn from the most familiar type of political protest behind bars: the hunger strike.
The strike in Alabama was just the latest in a series of strikes at U.S. prisons. On April 4, at least seven prisons in Texas staged a work strike after a prisoner sent out a call with the help of outside organizers. About a month earlier, prisoners in multiple states including both Texas and Alabama, as well as Virginia and Ohio, called for a national general strike among prisoners on Sept. 9, 2016, the 45th anniversary of the Attica Rebellion, where guards and inmates died during a prison revolt in upstate New York. Continue reading