Serving Time Should Not Mean ‘Prison Slavery’
Opinion New York Times by Erik Loomis
August 30, 2018
A national strike by prisoners is the latest iteration of demands for freedom from forced labor.
Since Aug. 21, prisoners across the United States have been on one of the largest prison strikes the nation has seen in years. They have several demands, but at the top is the end of the forced labor the state coerces out of them. Up to 800,000 prisoners a day are put out for work without their choice, usually for extremely paltry compensation that in Louisiana is as low as 4 cents per hour.
The Other Side of "Broken Windows"
The New Yorker by Eric Klinenberg
August 23, 2018
In the nineteenth century, British researchers began studying the variation in crime rates between and within cities. Some of these studies offered relatively simple accounts of the variance, in which concentrated poverty led to higher crime. Others went further, asking what explained the disparities in crime rates among poor neighborhoods. Most of this work “offered theories,” the University of Pennsylvania criminologist John MacDonald wrote in a recent paper, “but did not attempt to provide guidance on how to curb crime.”
Three Strikes Didn't Work. It's Time to Pay Reparations
The Marshall Project by Juleyka Lantigua Williams
August 26, 2018
I WAS RAISED IN THE SOUTH BRONX in the late 1980s and ’90s. I came of age and into my consciousness while a generation of men of color were herded into the criminal justice system under the rigid, unyielding habitual offender laws — three-strikes laws — for nonviolent drug-related offenses.
As shown in decades of analyses, the legacy of that policy that swept neighborhoods and entire cities clean of young men has been families broken apart, household incomes systematically gutted and swaths of urban spaces left vulnerable and bereft.
No One Knows How Big the Prison Strike is, But Organizers are Already Calling it a Success: Mother Jones
No One Knows How Big the Prison Strike is, But Organizers are Already Calling it a Success
Mother Jones by Madison Pauly
August 29, 2018
For weeks, the outside organizers of the nationwide prison strike that kicked off last Tuesday had been spreading the word that inmates in at least 17 states had pledged to protest prison conditions over 19 days. The plan was for thousands of prisoners to resist however they could—by refusing to work, turning away meals, or staging sit-ins. Yet in the week since the strike began, details about it have proved nearly impossible to confirm through official channels, with corrections officials almost uniformly denying that any protests or disruptions are underway.
The strike’s organizers on the outside scoff at these denials. The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), the main outside group supporting the strike, says that “thousands” of prisoners are participating. “Prison authorities may prove successful in concealing or even deterring participation in some of those states,” IWOC and other organizers stated, “but they cannot refute the righteousness of the 10 prisoner demands,” referring to the strikers’ demands, which include improving living conditions, ending racially biased sentencing and parole decisions, and increasing access to rehabilitation.
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Prison Strike Organizers Aim to Improve Conditions and Pay
New York Times by Mitch Smith
August 26, 2017
The Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, S.C., after a riot killed seven inmates in April. A number of American prisoners have declared a strike demanding changes to correctional institutions including pay and living conditions.
The inmates at North Carolina’s Hyde Correctional Institution hung three banners from the prison fence last week as supporters gathered outside. One sign asked for better food; another requested parole; the third said, “In solidarity.”
The protest came in support of a nationwide prisoner strike to call attention to the low inmate wages, decrepit facilities and harsh sentences that organizers say plague prison populations across the country. Though it is unclear how widespread such demonstrations have been, activists said they had shown a new ability to reach inmates across state lines at a time when prison unrest and in-custody deaths are frequently in the news.
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Why the nationwide strike against 'modern-day slavery' may not reach IL. And why it's already hereMaya Dukmasova : Chicago Reader
ARTICLE: Why the nationwide strike against 'modern-day slavery' may not reach IL. And why it's already here
Maya Dukmasova : Chicago Reader
On August 21, incarcerated people in at least 17 different states launched a 19-day "strike" in response to an April riot at South Carolina's Lee Correctional Institution that left seven inmates dead. Organized by a South Carolina-based group of incarcerated individuals calling themselves Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, the strike was rolled out with a list of ten demands challenging conditions of "modern day slavery" at state and federal jails and prisons and immigration detention centers. The demands, circulated on social media and endorsed by more than 150 allied groups are as follows:
1. Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and prison policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women.
2. An immediate end to prison slavery. All persons imprisoned in any place of detention under United States jurisdiction must be paid the prevailing wage in their state or territory for their labor.
3. The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.
4. The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole. No human shall be sentenced to Death by Incarceration or serve any sentence without the possibility of parole.
5. An immediate end to the racial overcharging, over-sentencing, and parole denials of Black and brown humans. Black humans shall no longer be denied parole because the victim of the crime was white, which is a particular problem in southern states.
6. An immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws targeting Black and brown humans.
7. No imprisoned human shall be denied access to rehabilitation programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.
8. State prisons must be funded specifically to offer more rehabilitation services.
9. Pell grants must be reinstated in all US states and territories.
10. The voting rights of all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, and so-called “ex-felons” must be counted. Representation is demanded. All voices count!
In some states prisoners are required to work difficult or dangerous jobs—such as fighting wildfires, farming, and manufacturing—for little or no pay. In others, private prisons contract with private companies to provide cheap labor. But in Illinois (where there are no private prisons), prison work is actually so scarce that inmates may not be striking against it.
America's prisoners are going on strike in at least 17 states
VOX - by German Lopez
Incarcerated Americans are often forced to work for cents an hour. So they’re launching what could be their biggest protest ever. America’s prisoners are going on strike.The demonstrations are planned to take place from August 21 to September 9, which marks the anniversary of the bloody uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility in New York. During this time, inmates across the US plan to refuse to work and, in some cases, refuse to eat to draw attention to poor prison conditions and what many view as exploitative labor practices in American correctional facilities.
Despite Reforms, US Remains the World's Most Incarcerated Nation
Truth Out 6-2018 :: Mike Ludwig
Despite a growing appetite among policy makers for criminal legal reforms, the United States is still the most incarcerated country in the world by a long shot. Even more progressive states have a higher percentage of their population behind bars than most other countries.
North Dakota Prison Officials Think Outside The Box To Revamp Solitary Confinement
NPR :: July 31, 2018 :: Cheryl Corley
Thousands of inmates serve some of their time in solitary confinement, locked down in small cells for up to 23 hours a day. North Dakota is changing its thinking on this segregated housing.
There are slightly more than 2 million people incarcerated in the United States — that's nearly equal to the entire population of Houston. Among those prisoners, thousands serve time in solitary confinement, isolated in small often windowless cells for 22 to 24 hours a day. Some remain isolated for weeks, months or even years. ...
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Records of Illinois parole board show just how rarely inmates win release
Injustice Watch: By Emily Hoerner and Jeanne Kuang | July 27, 2018
Parole board member has voted in favor of parole only once: Injustice Watch has published data from the Illinois parole board that reveals how infrequently people are granted release. In over three years on the board, former police officer Peter Fisher has voted against parole 160 times and in favor once. “William Norton, a former attorney and prosecutor, has been on the board since 2012,” reportsInjustice Watch. “Of 358 votes Norton has cast, he has voted in an inmate’s favor just five times—1.4 percent of the time.” Former social worker Edith Crigler has most often favored parole, voting yes in 32.5 percent of cases she heard. She said she focuses on a person’s progress since the crime rather than the crime itself. “You can really get to see that these women and men have made monumental leaps between what they did 30 to 40 years ago and who they are now,” she said. “A lot of our board members are former police officers or prosecutors, and they look at the letter of the law.”
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