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In this week’s episode, we speak with Karen Smith in Florida, who gives us insights into Operation PUSH. Kicking off in just 10 days, Operation PUSH is a prisoner-organized work stoppage inside Florida’s sprawling Prison System. In their own words, Operation PUSH is “asking all prisoners within the Department of Corrections to take a stand by laying down starting January 15, 2018, until the injustice we see facing prisoners within the Florida system is resolved.”
They say, “We are calling on all organized groups as well as religious systems to come together on the same page. We will be taking a stand for:
1. Payment for our labor, rather than the current slave arrangement
2. Ending outrageous canteen prices
3. Reintroducing parole incentives to lifers and those with Buck Rogers dates
Along with these primary demands, we are also expressing our support for the following goals:
• Stop the overcrowding and acts of brutality committed by officers throughout FDOC which have resulted in the highest death rates in prison history.
• Expose the environmental conditions we face, including extreme temperatures, mold, contaminated water, and being placed next to toxic sites such as landfills, military bases and phosphate mines (including a proposed mine which would surround the Reception and Medical Center prison in Lake Butler).
• Honor the moratorium on state executions, as a court-ordered the state to do, without the legal loophole now being used to kill prisoners on death row.
• Restore voting rights as a basic human right to all, not a privilege, regardless of criminal convictions.”