#PrisonStrike

On August 21st, prisoners across the United States and beyond began a strike against prison slavery. This strike comes hot on the heels of years of previous prison strikes, call-in campaigns, and full fledged uprisings, as well as inspiring actions against ICE and massive anti-fascist mobilizations throughout August. Not only are all of these struggles connected, but our best chances of succeeding in any of them lies in building momentum across these different movements and beyond.

Below you find:

  • Call-In Campaign Information
  • A Timeline of Prison Strike Resistance on the Inside.
  • A Timeline of Prison Strike Solidarity Actions on the Outside
  • A List of Upcoming Events in Support of the Prison Strike
  • A collection of resources, prisoner demands, articles, and materials about the 2016 prison strike, the 2018 strike, a variety of interviews and podcasts, and more.

Be sure to also check Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, Prison Slavery, The Bay View, Shadowproof, Support Prisoner Resistance, and the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee for other updates.

Call-In Campaigns

Organizing Winning Phone-Zap Campaigns

Inside: Resistance and Repression During the Strike

  • Late June: Ronald Brooks, who made a pro-strike video at the Angola prison is transferred due to strike organizing organizing activity “to the David Wade Correctional Center, a notorious facility in North Louisiana that has faced more than 200 federal lawsuits from inmates since it opened in 1980. Brooks had been held at Angola since he was incarcerated at age 19; he turns 40 this year.”
  • Late July: Prison officials declare that Lucasville survivor Siddique Hasan, who has been placed on death row for his role in the 1993 uprising, has lost phone privileges for one year and cannot talk to the outside world about the 2018 prison strike. He launches a hunger strike in response. Prison officials even take to literally sand bagging Hasan’s cell, to keep messages and information from coming out. In Shadowproof, Ben Turk states:

“This seems like a really unique and different situation,” Ben Turk told Shadowproof. “In the past, like when [prison officials] made up the thing about bombing the prison, that was so obviously bullshit. They got what they really wanted, I think, which was to restrict his communications so he couldn’t speak during the strike, but that was not a permanent change in his situation. Now it seems like they’re trying to create a permanent change in his situation.”

  • Early August: Around 20 inmates at Sterling Correctional Faciliity in Colorado launch hunger strike and issue demands. According to the Denver Anarchist Black Cross:

THE 5 DEMANDS/POINTS OF HUNGER STRIKE

#1.) End of group punishments. Especially the “off the record” policy known as “redtag” used at Sterling. This is in reference to Colorado’s prisons locking down entire groups for one person’s actions. And it is almost exclusively used to lockdown groups of Hispanic inmates, which can force anywhere between 20-100 Hispanic inmates to be held indefinitely in solitary (for no action of their own) for months at a time. At any given moment.

#2.) Abolish solitary confinement, but especially as a punishment to retaliate against inmates who refuse to attend/participate in intel/ICC interviews.

#3.) C.D.O.C must comply with all parts of the settlement reached in Decoteau v.Raemisch as well as adhere to the statements made by Rick Raemisch himself in a Oct. 2017 New York Times article and statements where he stated “solitary confinement and extended restrictive housing have been abolished in Colorado. No inmate will be held in RH [restrictive housing] longer than 15 days.”

#4.) Refund all inmates; money for outstanding subscription and GTL Linkunit accounts due to tablets being recalled.

#5.) Expand educational programs to include some correspondence courses and programs to help build and strengthen family unity between inmates and their families in the outside world.

…this is our final hope at some sort of relief. It is powerful to witness men deprive themselves of the basic nutrients needed for survival in order to fight oppression, especially when most of us are routinely labeled ‘most violent.

“[C]onditions at GEO Group prison reached a tipping point and the strike took place early due to administration cutting family visits, harassing families, strip searching elder family members, and STIU targeting, harassing, and abusing inmates. 3 housing units joined in this movement to take a stand against the cruel conditions. Retaliation is ongoing.”

  • August 19th: Prisoners in Nova Scotia launch a protest in solidarity with the #PrisonStrike in the US, issue their own demands. From the Halifax Examiner:

We, the prisoners of Burnside, have united to fight for change. We are unified across the population in non-violent, peaceful protest.

We are calling for support from the outside in solidarity with us. We believe that it is only through collective action that change will be made.

We recognize that the staff in the jail are workers who are also facing injustice. We are asking for a more productive rehabilitative environment that supports the wellbeing of everyone in the system. These policy changes will also benefit the workers in the jail.

Our voices should be considered in the programming and policies for this jail. The changes we are demanding to our conditions are reasonable, and must happen to support our human rights.

The organizers of this protest assert that we are being warehoused as inmates, not treated as human beings. We have tried through other means including complaint, conversation, negotiation, petitions, and other official and non-official means to improve our conditions. We now call upon our supporters outside these walls to stand with us in protesting our treatment.

We join in this protest in solidarity with our brothers in prison in the United States who are calling for a prison strike from August 21st to September 9th. We support the demands of our comrades in the United States, and we join their call for justice.

Over 200 people detained at the now infamous Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) begin today a hunger strike and work stoppage in response to the call for a national prison strike in the U.S. NWDC Resistance organizers received calls from at least three pods confirming the strike, which is intended to last until September 9th. Organizers received a document listing the reasons and demands.

“We are taking part in a hunger strike nationwide demanding change and closure of these detention centers, we are acting with solidarity for all those people who are being detained wrongfully, and stand together to help support all those women who have been separated from their children, and to stop all the family separations happening today for a lot of us are also being separated and we have U.S. citizen children”, reads the first part of the letter.

This is the third hunger strike in 2018 alone, since 2014 there have been nearly 15 hunger strikes at NWDC calling for humane detention conditions, access to justice, and and end to detentions and deportations.

Hunger strike and work stoppage demo

Posted by NWDC Resistance/Resistencia al NWDC on Tuesday, August 21, 2018

So the prisoner strike has been underway for more than 24 hours now. In the first day we got word of actions coming out from the prisons from Halifax, Nova Scotia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington and Folsom Prison in California reported strike action.

SC is completely under lock and key for the strike.

Multiple Nevada Department Correction inmates housed at an Arizona facility began a hunger strike this week.

We want medical attention. We want better COs, they don’t do their job right, they see that there are problems and they don’t do nothing about it, they just let things get big and that’s the reason why everybody gets into fights. And the food, they don’t give us the portion that they are supposed to give us, we just get a little bit of food.

The people that had accidents, we have a guy who got hit on his eye and it got swollen and he is getting blind because you guys don’t do nothing about it, we just need more attention with medical needs, a lot of people has medical issues and you guys let everything to the last minute and that’s not right, we don’t want somebody dead bedsides us just because you guys didn’t do your guys’ job right.

  • August 23rd: In Texas, IWOC reports:

IWOC was forwarded a message dated 8/23 from inside administrative segregation, (solitary) of Stiles Unit, Beaumont TX confirming that 2 prisoners are on hunger strike in solidarity with the national action:  “I feel great. But very hungry! And not because I don’t have food but because of our 48 hours solidarity with our brothers and sisters. It’s the only way we can show support from inside of Seg. Let everyone know we got their backs.”

Only 12-15 prisoners from the “privilege unit” are working. All others striking.

Confirmed hunger strike activity at Toledo CI, OH. David Easley and James Ward are on hunger strike in solidarity with the national demands and in protest of violence by COs and lack of health care. Prison officials would not confirm names or total number of prisoners refusing food. There may well be more than David and James on hunger strike.

  • August 25th: Stabbing takes place at Lee Correctional in South Carolina. IWOC wrote:

Yesterday, there was a stabbing at Lee CI, the same prison that suffered 7 dead in April. And as typical, the hand behind the hand that held the blade was the state’s stoking violence. This time to de-legitimize the strike as well.

Prison Slavery wrote:

Prisoners in SC lee prison want it known that the pigs allowed stabbing there yesterday. They allowed known hostile persons together. Ask yourself why?

Under pressure, staffers admitted to statewide searches underway. The phone calls were nonstop! No business as usual at these offices on Friday.

  • August 27th: Another hunger strike pops off in Wabash Valley in Indiana.

  • August 27th: From Gainesville IWOC: “BREAKING: we have confirmation of at least 5 Florida prisons reporting strike participation. We are waiting for more information from the inside as word spreads.”
  • August 27th: Northwest Detention Center Resistance writes that 6 people are continuing the hunger strike and that calls are still needed in solidarity.
  • August 27th: IWOC reports that Jailhouse Lawyer Speak has announced that:

[P]risoners in the following facilities are on strike: Broad River Correctional Institution, Lee Correctional Institution, McCormick Correctional Institution, Turbeville Correctional Institute, Kershaw Correctional Institution, and Lieber Correctional Institution. The actions in these facilities include widespread workstrikes, with only a few prisoners reporting to their jobs, and commissary boycotts.

  • August 27th: Jailhouse Lawyers Speak announced:

“…that five Florida facilities are seeing strike activity: Charlotte CI reports 40 refusing work, and 100 boycotting commissary. Prisoners at Dade Correctional say 30-40 on strike, Franklin Correctional report 30-60, Holmes Correctional reports 70, Appalachee Correctional report an unknown number.”

  • August 29th: Prison Slavery writes on Twitter:

Kentucky and Edgefield federal prisons joined the strike by large groups boycotting the canteens. We are also hearing a few federal prisoners in Colorado refused meals on the 21st in solidarity. Georgia (JLS) members are able to confirm strike and boycott activities in their state prisons. JLS members in Georgia says their strike numbers are not yet strong enough to shut down a prison.

  • August 30th: It is announced that in Indiana at Wabash Valley prison, administrators have violated policy to suppress the strike by writing up inmates for protesting.
  • August 30th: Warden at Northwest Detention Center retailiates against hunger strikers after people refused to stand up at attention when he entered the room:

On the evening of August 30th 20 people detained were sent to segregation after they, and at least 30 others, joined the nationwide prison strike at Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) demanding an end to the new practice of standing up as the new warden enters each pod, and the punishments for not complying. People detained had already complained about the mandate for nearly a month since “(the warden) thinks he is running a boot camp or we are in the military”, said a person joining the hunger strike. Many people are not able to get up from the bunk beds due to illnesses, a man reported he suffers from back pain and was given a date for an “administrative hearing” for not getting up from bed when the warden went into the pod where he is detained.

Yesterday morning an entire unit was punished without TV because some people were in bed as the warden went in. Somehow some people in the pod were able to turn it on again, and then Geo guards went in with a forklift to unplug the TV from the outlet on the wall. A person detained from a pod next door witnessed the event, and reported that Geo guards told them they were “painting the ceiling” in pod next door. Most of the people detained in the unit decided then to join the hunger strike and stopped eating at lunchtime. Communications were also denied to people detained in the unit, no access to phones or tablets. Hunger strikers also report threats of deportation, guards told people detained they already lost their immigration cases for joining the strike.

The hunger strike that officially begun last August 21st with at least 200 people joining, and continues on its second week, shows no signs of ending. 6 men are on their 9th day of not eating, most are now in medical units after not being transferred there for 3 days (day 7) due to medical units being full. As of last night 6 women joined the hunger strike too, based on these reports that makes at least 62 people on hunger strike today at the now infamous NWDC.

Organizers with NWDC Resistance will organize a rally in support of the hunger strikers, calling for an end to the retaliation and to the practice of having people standing up as the warden walks into the pods.

Last week, prisoners demonstrated in a couple of housing units, leading to a standoff and then the lockdown of those two units. That stress added to a correctional officer staffing crisis that’s been boiling over.

Confirmed strike activity in the Upper Peninsula, Michigan. A group has been boycotting all calls with GTL, the corporate phone vendor. Confirmed activity in CA, CSP-Lancaster. A group led by a William E. Brown is striking. Likely a hunger strike.

Group in a Kentucky federal prison boycotting commissary. Group in Edgefield federal prison in South Carolina is boycotting phones and commissary. Sharky Garcia, CA hunger striker in New Folsom, has been cut off from all visitation. 

  • September 3rd: Greek prisoners drop banner in solidarity with strike.

Inmates are said to have had clothes “molding on their bodies” as the lockdown at Minnesota’s Stillwater state prison continues past the one-month mark. Conditions which Stillwater inmates have called a “humanitarian crisis” are among the reasons organizers have called for the nationwide 2018 Prison Strike. With human rights violations in prisons being the norm across America, a call for an “improvement to the conditions of prisons” is the first of the strikers’ ten demands.

  • September 4th: Updates come in from Northwest Detention Center Resistance about continued repression of those on hunger strike. People are encouraged to make calls of support. On Facebook they write:

16 people are being taken to an “administrative hearing” today for joining a hunger strike last week. #Geo calls it a “disturbance” so they can excuse keeping people in segregation for as long as they want.

We’ve just learned that ICE is ready to start force feeding hunger strikers that have been striking for two or more weeks.

Remember calling for Indiana prisoners last Friday? “We’ve received word that the disciplinary reports written against the hunger strikers have been “torn up”! This is pretty rare and likely due to the combined force of the inmates resistance and our support on the outside. Thank you everyone and solidarity!”

Representatives of the UBN at Eastern NY Correctional has confirmed that many of them from their crew stayed from work on the 21-24. They have also stayed away from the commissary and phones since. It’s very possible others are not working – doing they own thang.

Four hunger strikers reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and GEO Group officers are threatening to get a court order to force feed them, a violent and painful process. They have been on hunger strike for more than 15 days of not eating to demand their immediate release in solidarity with the national prison strike. This week, GEO also accused at least 6 people “instigating a group demonstration” for trying to join a hunger strike. They have been held in solitary confinement for 8 days pending an “administrative hearing.” Over the phone from solitary, one of the human rights defenders told his partner that he asked to have his lawyer present, but GEO officers replied that was not necessary.

Yesterday American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawyer Enoka Herat sent a letter to the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) warden and the US Attorney of the Western District Annette L Hayes expressing concerns over the treatment of people detained participating on civil disobedience at NWDC. The letter emphasizes the right of people to refuse food and engage in First Amendment speech, which includes hunger strikes. The letter also reminds both of them that a court order should only be pursued after the Clinical Medical Authority “has determined that the detainee’s life or health is at risk.”

The hunger strike at NWDC in its third week, since beginning on August 21st is part of the nationwide prison strike. Organizers with NWDC Resistance have received other reports that at least 4 other people have joined the strike in the past days in the Tacoma facility.

  • September 10th: Call-in campaign at Kershaw, SC begins to demand that prison stop withholding food from prisoners.
  • September 10th: IWOC reports of strike activity in New York at Coxsackie Correctional Facility.
  • September 10th: At least one block engaged in 3 day fast and commissary boycott throughout Ohio State Penitentiary.
  • September 10th: At least one prisoner on hunger strike at Leavenworth in Missouri.
  • September 10th: Lockdown at Stillwater prison continues.

Outside: A Thousand Fires Against the Plantation

  • August 21st: Graffiti written in solidarity with the strike in Knoxville, TN.
  • August 21st: Graffiti written in solidarity in Libson, PT.
  • August 21st: Banner drop in New York.
  • August 21st: Banner drop in Philadelphia.
  • August 21st: Multiple banner drops in Pittsburgh.

  • August 21st: Rally takes place at South Carolina capitol in Columbia. “We’re not interested in reforming the criminal punishment system, we’re interested in dismantling and abolishing it,” say family members who came to support the strike and present the prisoners demands.
  • August 21st: Thousands of calls are reported to have been made into Florida prisons.
  • August 21st: Prison strike graffiti in Oakland, CA and across the country. Banner drops in Philadelphia and beyond.
  • August 21st: Noise demonstration kicks off in Brooklyn, New York. March takes to streets, several arrests made by police. Other noise demos take place in Los Angeles, Corona, San Jose, Chicago, Minneapolis, and beyond.
  • Demo at Gainesville, Florida work camp organized to block work trucks.
  • . See full roundup here.
  • August 22nd: New York rally in solidarity with Prison Strike at UNC circle.

Over 200 people detained at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) are on a hunger strike and work stoppage in response to the call for a national prison strike in the U.S.

Call ICE now and demand 
1) ICE meet the hunger strikers’ demands
2) GEO not retaliate against hunger strikers.

Acting Field Director, Bryan S. Wilcox
Field Office Main Telephone Line
206-835-0650 ext.2

Assistance Field Director (Detention), William Penaloza
Facility Main Telephone
253-779-6000 ext.1, wait for message, then dial ext 4.

  • August 24th: Demo at Gainesville, Florida work camp organized to block work trucks.
  • August 24th: A noise demo held outside the jail in Richmond, Virginia.

  • August 25th: Prison strike solidarity demo at Indiana State Prison.

  • August 27th: Solidarity rally outside of Asheville, North Carolina at prison facility.

  • August 27th: Solidarity rally outside of Hyde Correctional in eastern North Carolina.

  • August 28th: Banner drop in Oakland, CA.
  • August 28th: IWOC Gainesville pickets Florida Department of Corrections.

  • August 28th: RAM wheatpastes posters up in New York. New Haven graffiti.

  • August 28th: Prison Strike noise demonstration disrupts jail facility on the inside.

  • August 31st: Banner drop in solidarity with prison strike in Philadelphia.

  • September 1st: DSA members in Middle Tennessee march in labor day parade in solidarity with prison strike. Atlanta supporters march in another parade, hand out flyers. Banner is dropped.
  • September 1st: Large noise demo in Des Moines, Iowa in solidarity with prison strike.
  • September 1st: Encampment in Gainesville, FL begins in solidarity with the strike.
  • September 2nd: Gainesville encampment continues into second day.

  • September 3rd: Banner drop at Greek prison in solidarity with the prison strike.
  • September 3rd: Starbucks vandalized in solidarity with the prison strike for their use of prison labor. Reported on by mainstream press.
  • September 3rd. Gainesville encampment continues into third day. Noise demo in Philadelphia called in solidarity with the prison strike met by very violent police, who attack marchers and make arrests.

  • September 6th: Gainesville encampment continues and beings showing filims, Philadelphia communique claims responsibility for sabotage actions.
  • September 6th: Rally in Nova Scotia in solidarity with prison strikers.

List of Solidarity Events:

August 20th:

Black Mountain, NC: Film Showing

August 21st

Northwest

Seattle, WA: Kickoff Rally

Portland, OR: Day Of Action

Southwest

Sacramento, CA: Letter Writing & Film Screening

San Jose, CA: Awareness March

Corona, CA: Noise Demo

Los Angeles, CA: Noise Demo

Phoenix, AZ: Noise Demo

Central

Omaha, NB: Letter Writing

San Antonio, TX: Noise Demo

Southeast

Asheville, NC: Strike Support Meetup

Black Mountain, NC: Film Showing

Atlanta, GA: Rally In Solidarity

Fort Lauderdale, FL: Noise Demo

Midwest

Des Moines, IA: Noise Demo

Chicago, IL: Noise Demo

Columbus, OH: Letter Writing and Film Showing

Minneapolis, MN: Noise Demo

Northeast

Philadelphia, PA: Noise Demo

Boston, MA: Vigil

Des Moines, IA: Noise Demo

Brooklyn, NY: Noise Demo

International

Leipzig, Germany: Rally

August 22nd

Durham, NC: Prison Strike Discussion

Milwaukee, WI: Prison Strike Solidarity

August 23rd

Boston, MA: Prison Strike Solidarity Rally

Chapel Hill, NC: Slavery Never Ended

Lansing, MI: Solidarity March

Cambridge, MA: Prison Strike Solidarity Rally

August 25th

Bay Area, CA: Mobilization at San Quentin

Bishopville, SC: Rally at Lee Correctional

Fredrick, MD: Rally in Solidarity with Strike

New Haven, CT: Rally in Solidarity with Strike

Michigan City, IN: Protest Indiana State Prison

Tallahassee, FL: Solidarity Rally

Eugene, OR: Rally in Solidarity with Prison Strike

August 26th

Milwaukee, WI: Performance Art with Discussion

Oakland, CA: Film Screening & Panel Discussion

August 27th

Dallas, TX: Strike Support

August 28th

Baltimore, MD: Teach-In, Letter Writing, & Fundraiser

San Jose, CA: Teach-In

Atlanta, GA: Noise Demo

August 29th

Los Angeles, CA: Phone Zap Meet-up

August 30th

Brattleboro, VT: Film Showing

New York, NY: Prison Strike Work Event

Hamilton, ON: Letter Writing

August 31st

Omaha, NB: Solidarity BBQ

Asheville, NC: Letter Writing and Strike Update

September 1st

Chicago, IL: Noise Demo

Pittsburgh, PA: Letter Writing

San Jose, CA: Teach-In

Kent, OH: Letter Writing Event

Homestead, FL: Solidarity Rally With Prison Strike

Cranston, RI: Noise Demo at Rhode Island Department of Corrections

Crawfordville, FL: Abolish ICE Protest in Solidarity with #PrisonStrike

Albuquerque, NM: Noise and Light Demo

Tacoma, WA: Solidarity demo with Hunger Strikers

September 4th

Columbus, OH: Pig Roast Against Prison Slavery

Carbondale, IL: Film Screening

Tallahassee, FL: Sit-In at the Florida Department of Corrections

Dallas, TX: Letter writing.

September 5th

Columbia, MI: Film showing and discussion.

Brooklyn, NY: Prison Strike Solidarity

September 6th

Northampton, MA: Phone Zap Meeting

Atlanta, GA: Teach In

San Marcos, TX: Teach In

September 7th

Seattle, WA: Protest Poetry & Open Mic

Sacramento, CA: Press Conference

September 8th

Columbia, SC: Prison Reform Rally

Albuquerque, NM: Prison Strike Solidarity Rally

North Dartmouth, MA: Noise demo.

Milwaukee, WI: Letter Writing

Reidsville, GA: Noise Demo

September 9th

Seattle, WA: Letter Writing Night

Vancouver, CAN: Film Showing

September 12th:

Baltimore, MD: Film Screening

September 13th:

Wilimington, DW: Community Forum

September 21st

Minneapolis, MN: Info-night and Letter Writing


Know of an event that we haven’t listed? Submit it! Or email us at info [at] itsgoingdown [dot] org

Nothing organized in your city yet? It’s not too late to do something yourself!

2016 Prison Strike:

#August21 #PrisonStrike:

Podcast Recordings: