Biggest Prison Strike in US History Held in Georgia: DC Activists Protest in Solidarity [VIDEO]
Slavery is not over in the United States, when it comes to the Prison system.
Inmates often work for free in prisons across the country and they lack of decent living conditions and most civil rights. Also they get abused -sometimes by correction officers- without legal consequences to the perpetrators.
Last week, inmates in four prisons of the state of Georgia held a general strike -the biggest in U.S. history- to demand better working conditions, and a respectful environment that can guarantee their recovery and transition back into society.
At least four prisons in Georgia remain in lockdown five days after prisoners went on strike in protest of poor living and working conditions. Using cell phones purchased from guards, the prisoners coordinated the nonviolent protests to stage the largest prison strike in U.S. history. There are reports of widespread violence and brutality by the guards against the prisoners on strike. We speak to longtime prison activist Elaine Brown of the newly formed group Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights.
After a brutal response, many inmates decided to end the prison strike, but individual protests and strikes will continue and they need our support. Now many inmates are facing cruel retaliations:
Protest in Washington, DC
Human rights activists protested today at the Georgia governor Sonny Perdue’s office in downtown D.C.
Ignored. Republican Georgia governor Perdue has not even acknowledge the strike yet. The blog Georgia Solidarity explains:
The Georgia Prisoners are demanding living wages for their work, an end to cruel and unusual punishment, decent health care and living conditions, nutritional meals, educational opportunities beyond the high school level, vocational and self-improvement opportunities, greater access to their families, and just parole decisions.
Georgia’s prisons are at three-times their intended capacity with one in thirteen adults locked up or in the system. While most prisoners work without compensation, they are charged $55 a month for once-weekly 15 minute phone access and 10% on all money transfers from family or friends into commissary accounts.
Protest and non-cooperation with prison labor is typically punished with restrictions on basic rights like library access, rest time, and visitation. In the case of this strike, and this is largest prison strike in US history, retaliation by the state has been much harsher. Strikers with smuggled cell phones have reported violent retaliation. Corrections officers have assaulted prisoners, destroyed their property, turned off heat and hot water, restricted food, isolated suspected leaders, and cut prisoners off from their families.
This is a country of laws. I hear so much that expression from politicians, especially Republicans and conservatives who refuse to uptade obsolete unfair laws in this country. Although slavery and human rights violations are illegal and punished by U.S. laws, they seem not to apply to prisoners across the nation.
The demands of the inmates in Georgia are basic and fair. Watch this video with Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report:
Please get involved!
The protests at the Georgia prisons continue. Join the Facebook page of Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights and visit the Georgia Solidarity blog for uptates! Also check Georgia Prison Watch, and the Prison Law Blog.