Modern Slavery

From August 21 – September 9, 2018, prisoners will participate in work stoppages, sit-in strikes, commissary boycotts, and hunger strikes to demand major reforms to the country’s prison and criminal justice systems, including “humane living conditions, access to rehabilitation, sentencing reform, and the end of modern day slavery.”

In recognition of the history of slave rebels and prison resistors, the nationwide prison strike is planned for August 21, the day Nat Turner led an uprising of slaves in 1831 and the 47th anniversary of the death of George Jackson, a prominent African-American prison advocate; until September 9, the 47th anniversary of the Attica prison rebellion, the largest prison uprising of the 1970s prison movement, in which more than 40 people were killed.

Organizers of the action have released a list of ten demands directed at elected officials:

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 The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.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 The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole.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.

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