Pulling Down the Bars: The 2018 #PrisonStrike

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The 2018 Prison Strike has officially begun.

Already, the strike has spread into Canada, and numerous facilities around the US are already seeing hunger strikes pop off as prisoners issue demands. Prison officials are also cracking down on various facilities, shutting them down, and locking up prison rebel leaders as deep in the hole as they can.

This page will be updated throughout the strike with news of action and repression on both sides of the razor wire. For background information, strike demands, as well as a list of solidarity events, please go here.

Call-In 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.

  • August 22nd: Prison Slavery on Twitter writes:

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.

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.

Outside: A Thousand Fires Against the Plantation

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

  • 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.
  • Thousands of calls are reported to have been made into Florida prisons.

 

  • August 23rd: Graffiti in Portland, Oregon in solidarity with the prison strike.
  • August 23rd: Banner drop in Boston in solidarity with prison strike.
  • August 23rd: Rally in solidarity with prison strike in Boston.

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