Why is the media silent about the national #prison strike? For almost four weeks, almost all of the media has ignored the first national inmate strike that started on September 9th. Where are the reports on national television news or the stories in our newspapers and magazines about the inmate’s strike?
The activists in 20 prisons, located in 12 states, have organized the first national inmate strike to combat prison labor conditions. They have called present conditions, “modern-day slavery.” Prisoners are put to work for little to no pay. The pay is often between 12 to 40 cents an hour.
With little or no pay, inmates are confronted with excessive charges for commissary food, high phone call charges, and even unsafe working conditions in some prisons.
In Texas, Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia, prisoners work on former pre-Civil War plantations picking cotton while armed correctional officers on horses are the new overseers. Inmates in the four southern states work in garment factories, furniture factories, and in hog–cattle meat packing plants for no compensation. After thire work day is finished, the prisoners are returned to cells without air conditioning where temperatures at times have reached 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Over the last ten years, Texas inmates have died from excessive heat in their cells.. One Texas inmate, Alexander Togonidre, was found dead in his cell with a body temperature of 106 degrees. In 2011, ten Texas inmates died of hyperthermia.
Major corporations have benefited from inmate labor. Starbucks, ATT Wireless, Whole Foods, McDonalds, Shelby Cobra cars, Microsoft, and Eddie Bauer clothing lines have used prison labor for product packaging projects. Third Generation, a clothing distributor, had garments sewn for Victoria’s Secret and JC Penney at a female prison in South Carolina.
Since September 9th, striking inmates, have refused to work, have refused to eat, and some inmates have damaged prison property to protest the slave labor conditions.
Inmates are taking great risks to protest prison conditions. Because of their protest, they face punishments including solitary confinement and increased prison sentences.
Although, our justice system and our prisons have become part of the national debate for the 2016 presidential election, almost all of the media has ignored this national inmate strike—Why?
PrisonPath, at the request of its visitors, will post every week the latest news about Prison America. The United States has the most inmates and prisons in the world. We have 25% of the world’s inmates and only 5% of the world’s population.
By: Bradley Schwartz
Founder of prisonpath.com