Submitted to It’s Going Down
On Saturday, March 16 a demonstration was held at the Michigan Department of Corrections building in Lansing to show solidarity for the 1,000 prisoners at Kinross Correctional Facility who went on strike the week before in response to continually being served disgusting food. Since our demonstration last week, prisoners at another prison in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Chippewa Correctional Facility, also held a protest citing the same conditions.
This is not a new issue for prisoners in Michigan. Last year the state ended its contract with the food contractor Aramark after investigations found that they were serving moldy, maggot-infested food.
The solidarity demonstration happened across the street from the MDOC administrative building. A large banner and various signs displayed phrases such as: “Abolish prisons”, “Decent food for Kinross”, and “Stop Poisoning Prisoners” among others. We also handed out leaflets and put them up throughout downtown Lansing; the text is as follows:
SOLIDARITY WITH PRISONERS AT KINROSS!
On Sunday, March 19 roughly 1,000 prisoners at Michigan’s Kinross Correctional Facility engaged in a protest over disgusting food conditions. The prisoners simultaneously left the yard early and walked to their cells, and the next day a similar number refused to go out and eat meals. This is just one episode in a long-running travesty. Last year the state of Michigan fired food service contractor Aramark for serving moldy and maggot-infested food to the state’s prisoners. Despite hiring a new company, Trinity Services Group, the prisoners are apparently still forced to eat disgusting and ill-prepared food.
Prison officials claim that their institutions exist to “correct” harmful behavior or “rehabilitate” people, but a much more convincing case can be made that prisons function to maintain a smoothly running capitalist society which criminalizes the poverty and oppression it creates and maintains. How does eating rotten food correct harmful behavior? And how is snatching people from their friends and families, locking them in cages for years on end, and branding them as felons supposed to help them or those reliant on them?
The prisoners at Kinross have their own reasons for protesting, and we don’t pretend to represent them. We hope they get everything they demand. In addition, it’s our opinion that the state is unfit to meet the needs of those it claims to protect, and this is the latest example. Whether it’s the negligent poisoning of an entire generation in Flint, water shutoffs for residents of Detroit, or the ongoing police murders of mostly black and brown people throughout the country, it’s becoming evident that this system isn’t meant to meet our needs, and relying on it to do so will mean increasingly dire consequences for us.
Prisoners throughout the country have been in rebellion for years. Work stoppages in multiple facilities throughout Georgia, hunger strikes in Pelican Bay, and prison riots in Alabama are just the beginning. As these revolts and movements continue to erupt, it’s crucial for any type of victory that they spread to those of us on the outside. That shouldn’t be too difficult; a society that must rely on something as abominable and inhumane as prison in order to function surely provides each of us our own reasons to fight.
GIVE THEM EVERYTHING THEY’RE ASKING FOR!