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Friends,

I have been remiss and not brought to this blog the few news interviews, essays and journalists, anchors attempting to bring before the pubic eye a strike that went on in the US prisons for the last few weeks. Conditions in US prisons are frightful, thousands kept in solitary confinement (the retaliatory punishment for the leaders of these strikes, especially those going hungry), no medicine worth the name, forced labor at slave conditions, inadequate supervision so people inside are at the mercy of the worst kinds of people there.


A rare crowd in California

In all this time I never saw one story in the NYTimes or Washington Post, nor did Judy Woodruff and her group at PBS mention it --- she did have a story on some improvements in a Louisiana prison, not the hell hole it was once was. I've no doubt this was her way of trying to notice the strikers' complaints -- the upbeat of course.

So here are a few articles and an interview: I'll begin with The Conversation where they point out now that it's over the prisoners are most in danger and they were being retaliated against before it ended.

Truthdig



The only way to end slavery is to stop being a slave. Hundreds of men and women in prisons in some 17 states are refusing to carry out prison labor, conducting hunger strikes or boycotting for-profit commissaries in an effort to abolish the last redoubt of legalized slavery in America. The strikers are demanding to be paid the minimum wage, the right to vote, decent living conditions, educational and vocational training and an end to the death penalty and life imprisonment.

These men and women know that the courts will not help them. They know the politicians, bought by the corporations that make billions in profits from the prison system, will not help them. And they know that the mainstream press, unwilling to offend major advertisers, will ignore them.

But they also know that no prison can function without the forced labor of many among America’s 2.3 million prisoners.



Here is the story as told through interviews on DemocracyNow.org

Prisoners are striking around the country as part of a nationwide protest demanding improved living conditions, greater access to resources and the end of what prisoners are calling “modern day slavery.” In Tacoma, Washington, immigrant rights advocates say 60 immigrants detained at the Northwest Detention Center continued their hunger strike Thursday. California prisoner Heriberto Garcia is also hunger-striking at New Folsom State Prison. He recorded video of himself refusing food in his cell, that was then posted on Twitter. Meanwhile, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, protesting prisoners issued a statement in solidarity with the U.S. prison strike. The statement said the prisoners were “warehoused as inmates, not treated as human beings.” Organizers also report actions in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida as the national prison strike moves into its fourth day. This comes as 10 prisoners have died behind bars in Mississippi this month. Activists and family members are demanding answers for the spike in prisoner deaths. The IWW’s Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee tweeted about the deaths, “Why #prisonstrike? Because at this point it’s about survival.”



Common Dreams: details of the prison strike:

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/08/23/us-prison-strike-third-day-reports-hunger-strikes-and-work-stoppages-nationwide

Strikers and spokespeople for the movement urged patience from the outside world and noted that "although there aren't widespread reports of actions coming out of prisons that people need to understand that the tactics being used in this strike are not always visible."

"Prisoners are boycotting commissaries, they are engaging in hunger strikes which can take days for the state to acknowledge, and they will be engaging in sit-ins and work strikes which are not always reported to the outside," said Amani Awari, Jared Ware, and Brooke Terpsta, who have been involved in covering the strike and spreading information to the news media. "Departments of Corrections are not reliable sources of information for these actions and will deny them and seek to repress those who are engaged in them."

A dispatch from Folsom State Prison in California showed inmate Heriberto Garcia refusing food on the first day of the strike.


According to the Guardian, 200 inmates have reportedly joined protests at Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, while about 100 prisoners at Hyde Correctional Institute in Fairfield, North Carolina assembled in the prison's yard carrying signs reading "Parole," "Better Food," and "In solidarity."

Why was no attention paid?

The relative lack of attention to the strike underlined the continued indifference to widespread claims of abuse and inhumane conditions inside the nation’s prison system, observers and prison activists told The Crime Report.

Miss Drake

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
misssylviadrake
Sep. 16th, 2018 03:46 pm (UTC)
It is slavery
Did you post this to your prison blog: https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-slaves-rebel/ It utterly horrified me, but Hedges strips away all the veils that make the truth bearable, as you know—And yes, he couldn’t be more right that they’ll do what they are doing in prisons to all of us if they can. I feel like a member of the Volk in Nazi Germany—and that is not the way I want to feel. I don’t want to live in a country that treats anyone so cruelly.

A friend.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 18th, 2018 12:03 am (UTC)
A side issue mentioned: commissary
When I began teaching in Ohio prisons in 1984, families could bring or mail in some clothing, shoes, and approved food, all of which was searched. Books also could be sent in after search, and many poets, especially NY poet Joe Bruchac, did a good job of supplying books to prisons which otherwise had nothing but Zane Grey and much worse outdated genre work.

Now, families can send in none of that and inmates must buy very inferior clothing goods, made overseas, and way overpriced by the lowlife companies that the prisons cut a deal with. No food can be sent or brought in, and the food offered in the commissary is the worst of junk food: fritos, Little Debbies-- nothing that would promote anyone's health, and the prison kitchens certainly don't. Many prisons (especially the private ones) are serving the bare minimum (or fewer) number of calories.

Finally books. One can no longer send in books onself, nor can organizations. The big story there is that inmates were supposedly smuggling LSD into prison in the pages of the books. (Why they would have to do that when so many guards are bringing drugs in is beyond me.) The only way one can get books is by buying them direct from the publisher or Amazon, another gouger.

Author John Wideman, whose brother is incarcerated for life for a murder he did not commit, said, "An inmate has no rights which the prison is required to respect," and that grows more true every day in our prisons, which I thought were terrible in 1984 and are so depressingly worse today.
misssylviadrake
Sep. 18th, 2018 12:53 pm (UTC)
Re: A side issue mentioned: commissary
In future I will offer at the bottom of my blogs to help those having trouble replying. In reply to yours, privatization spreading every where makes each company try to squeeze the most profits and give the least comfort to those vulnerable to them. Where my daughter works all workers belonged to a "civilian wellness program: that meant 3 hours a week they could have time to go to a gym in the building or swim. That has been cut as it gets in the way of profits. My entry on not having the right vote includes a description of a hitherto decent program for Adults Aspergers: cut they can no longer have picnics outside. The most fundamental inhumanities are spreading everywhere because of the deep open anti-social norms of the present Trump regime.

This is not a side issue: it's central: the prisoners are being treated as badly as they would in any concentration or slave camp when you factor in the demand for work for no pay.
misssylviadrake
Sep. 18th, 2018 12:54 pm (UTC)
Prisons in this country worse than in Nazi Germany
Yes, it is a horror. I was on a clearness committee a few year ago when a woman very involved in prisons stated that except for the death camps, the prisons in this country are now worse than in Nazi Germany—and this shows she is right. If you remember, Bonhoeffer could get books, food and clothing sent in. So could “Aryans,” such as Quakers, housed in places like Dachau, and these mail deliveries kept them alive. Only the Jews (and maybe gypsies, Roma) couldn’t get these supplies from the outside. Now all the prisoners in the U.S. are treated like Jews in Nazi Germany (except not killed). They are slave labor just like Jews. The only difference is (because people want to make money from them) is that they can at least buy something in the commissary: junk food is at least calories, cheap clothing is at least clothing, books from Amazon are at least books. I am sure they make sure the food has no nutritional value because nutrition makes people lively and able to think—it’s what cults do, feed people popsicles and sugary candy so they can’t think straight. It’s horrible, and I feel so helpless. Shows like Orange is the New Black don’t help because, like the Upstairs/Downstairs shows and the servants, nobody would watch if you showed the reality.

Another friend who does not belong to LiveJournal.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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