Alabama inmates have organized a coordinated prison strike to protest against “slave labor” and deplorable prison conditions.
Three inmates in solitary confinement organized a state-wide prison strike, which began on May 1 at Alabama’s Holman, Staton, and Elmore Correctional Facilities, the Solitary Watch reports.
According to the Solitary Watch, inmates from St. Clair Correctional Facility are expected to join some 400 prisoners on May 9, to demonstrate against the unfair “slave-like” labor practices at their prisons.
The organizers have been identified as Kinetik, Dhati and Brother M, the leaders of the Free Alabama Movement, which hopes to carry on the strike for up to 30 days depending on the willingness of lawmakers to negotiate.
The inmates are enraged at the fact that private organizations make millions from their hard work, for which they get little or no payment.
“We will no longer contribute to our own oppression,” Kinetik told Solitary Watch. “We will no longer continue to work for free and be treated like this.”
People incarcerated at the prisons are paid $0.17 to $0.30 an hour to perform a variety of functions, which include giving assistance to correctional employees in the maintenance, upkeep and staffing of prison facilities, and engaging in manufacturing or industrial jobs from private organizations.
According to AL.com, Alabama is ranked third in the nation for number of prisoners per capita, and Blacks make up 72 percent of its prison population, despite accounting for only 30 percent of the state’s population.
Prison officials are retaliating against the striking inmates by serving reduced meal sizes to all inmates at the striking prisons.
Alabama’s long history of animosity towards Black inmates is well established in the state’s Reconstruction era practice of mass incarceration of African-Americans and their re-enslavement in coal mines. Black convicts, some of whom are in jail for crimes they didn’t commit or for trivial offenses, are often kept in dangerous and deplorable conditions and subjected to “slave labor.”
Their voices needed to be heard and the situation needs to change, not just in Alabama correctional facilities, but in all prison facilities nationwide.
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