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PORTSIDE  December 2010, Week 4

PORTSIDE December 2010, Week 4

Subject:

Largest Prison Strike in US History Ends, Ignored

From:

Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Wed, 22 Dec 2010 22:23:05 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (125 lines)

The Largest Prison Strike in American History Goes Ignored by US Media

By Joe Weber
Death and Taxes Magazine
December 16, 2010
http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/41235/the-largest-prison-strike-in-american-history-goes-ignored-by-us-media/

    Today marks the end of a seven-day strike where tens
    of thousands of inmates in Georgia refused to work
    or leave their cells until their demands had been
    met. The odd thing is, that until today, no one had
    ever heard about this strike.

Inmates in ten Georgia prisons, Baldwin, Hancock, Hays,
Macon, Smith and Telfair State Prisons, to name a few, went
on strike last Thursday to protest their treatment and
demand their human rights.

According to an article by Facing South, Department of
Corrections have been nervous about deteriorating conditions
in Georgia's prisons since early 2010. Wardens started
triple bunking prisoners in response to budget cuts -
squeezing three prisoners into cells intended for one.
Prison officials have kept a watchful eye out for prisoners
meaning to riot, for prisoners' rights lawyers to litigate,
or both.

Poor conditions and substandard medical care are also on the
inmates' list of demands. However, the jailed's main gripe
seems to center on landing recognition as workers entitled
to fair pay.

As it goes, prisoners in Georgia are forced to work without
pay for their labor - seemingly a violation of the 13th
Amendment, which prohibits slavery and involuntary
servitude.

For months the prisoners had apparently used cell phones to
get in touch with inmates from other prisons, organizing a
non-violent strike. The outcome began the morning of Dec. 9
- by Dec. 13 the GDC issued a statement that four prisons
were completely on strike.

An interview with one of the strike leaders revealed that
every group of inmates in the prison had been working
together. "They want to break up the unity we have here,"
said an anonymous strike leader in an interview with the
Black Agenda Report. "We have the Crips and the Bloods, we
have the Muslims, we have the head Mexicans, and we have the
Aryans all with a peaceful understanding, all on common
ground."

The largest prison strike in American history seems like a
topic ripe for the press, however there was no mention of it
anywhere in mainstream media. Smaller outlets like Black
Agenda Report and Facing South (Institute for Southern
Studies) have been covering the strike since day one.

Perhaps there was a larger hand at play - one that did not
want the deplorable conditions of the Georgia prison system
to surface. If Wikileaks has taught us anything, it is that
the revolution will be televised.

The prisoners demands:

    * A LIVING WAGE FOR WORK: In violation of the 13th
    Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting slavery and
    involuntary servitude, the DOC demands prisoners work
    for free.

    * EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: For the great majority of
    prisoners, the DOC denies all opportunities for
    education beyond the GED, despite the benefit to both
    prisoners and society.

    * DECENT HEALTH CARE: In violation of the 8th Amendment
    prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments, the
    DOC denies adequate medical care to prisoners, charges
    excessive fees for the most minimal care and is
    responsible for extraordinary pain and suffering.

    * AN END TO CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENTS: In further
    violation of the 8th Amendment, the DOC is responsible
    for cruel prisoner punishments for minor infractions of
    rules.

    * DECENT LIVING CONDITIONS: Georgia prisoners are
    confined in over-crowded, substandard conditions, with
    little heat in winter and oppressive heat in summer.

    * NUTRITIONAL MEALS: Vegetables and fruit are in short
    supply in DOC facilities while starches and fatty foods
    are plentiful.

    * VOCATIONAL AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES: The DOC
    has stripped its facilities of all opportunities for
    skills training, self-improvement and proper exercise.

    * ACCESS TO FAMILIES: The DOC has disconnected thousands
    of prisoners from their families by imposing excessive
    telephone charges and innumerable barriers to
    visitation.

    * JUST PAROLE DECISIONS: The Parole Board capriciously
    and regularly denies parole to the majority of prisoners
    despite evidence of eligibility.

___________________________________________

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