Report back from recent noise demo in Atlanta, Georgia in solidarity with the prison strike.
On the 28th of August, 2018, a week into the historic nationwide prison strike, a small group of people gathered outside of the Dekalb County Jail. With two banners, drums, balloons, and some fire crackers, the small crowd marched into the atrium of the facility, with some present adorning masks. This is not an unprecedented practice at noise demonstrations in Atlanta. The crowd was around 15 people at this time and no arrests were made as demonstrators left the premises when asked.
Inside the atrium, demonstrators chanted “strike, strike, strike” until a large amount of police arrived to clear the area. Back on the sidewalk, the small group marched around the facility waving at inmates who made small signs in their windows including hearts, upside down peace signs, and the words “fuck twelve.” When Atlanta Police officers approached the protesters, the crowd walked right up to them with banners held at eye level and forced them to retreat.
There was a noise demonstration held at the Atlanta City Detention Center on the first day of the strike. In early July, anti-ICE protesters clashed with police during an attempt to evict an encampment taking place there to oppose the separation of families by border police and ICE agents. Last year, when two inmates died inside of Atlanta City Detention Center, a noise demonstration was attacked by the police with batons, It was theorized at that time that the new Atlanta Chief of Police was going to deploy greater force against autonomous groups then in previous times, something she promised to do when a large gathering of people vandalized a Confederate monument following the deadly “Unite the Right” protest in Charlottesville, VA in 2017.
The Dekalb County Jail is not in the Atlanta Police jurisdiction and it does not appear to be the case, as of yet, that the Dekalb County Police are willing or able to dedicate excessive and pre-emptive force against autonomous and self-organized movements. Perhaps only time will tell.
Demands of the Prison Strike:
- Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and prison policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women.
- 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.
- The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.
- 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.
- 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.
- An immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws targeting Black and brown humans.
- No imprisoned human shall be denied access to rehabilitation programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.
- State prisons must be funded specifically to offer more rehabilitation services.
- Pell grants must be reinstated in all US states and territories.
- 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.
Furthermore, a demonstration at this jail in 2012 catalyzed clashes between detainees and guards in three different buildings as masked protesters smashed an electrical box outside, short-circuiting the street lights below the jail.