Prison strikes kick off in protest conditions and slave labor

Today prisoners in at least 24 states are set to participate in a nationally coordinated strike that comes on the 45th anniversary of the prison uprising at Attica. Much like the prisoners who took over New York’s infamous correctional facility in 1971, today’s prisoners are protesting long-term isolation, inadequate healthcare, overcrowding, violent attacks and slave labor.

Source: Democracy Now

I can’t look at the figures below and not see this as a form of slavery.

incarceration rates, slave, slavery, prison, unpaid labor

Source: Wikipedia

The U.S. Census for 1920 counted just over 106 million in 1920. The census projections for 2015 put as at just over 320 million in 2015. So while the population of the general public tripled, the prison population increased more than ten fold (mostly between 1980 and 2006).

It would be interesting to see how this has changed over time, but it’s damning as a standalone figure.

No one should be forced to labor against their will-and certainly not without compensation. Click To Tweet

The Power of Pell Grants for Prisoners – The New Yorker

Jackson, draped in a clean white T-shirt that rests atop oversized gray pants, slides his chair forward toward his desk. His goatee is well-trimmed, perfectly drawn across his upper lip and around his chin. He is full of jokes—before class, after class, and sometimes even during class. When he laughs, he flings his head backward, letting the bellow of his own wit rumble from his diaphragm. His thick-framed black glasses slide down to the edge of his nose as he pores over excerpts from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself.” Although a jester, full of quips, he is also deeply focussed. He is bent over the book, his eyes a few inches from the page. He looks away only to give a quick glance at his notepad, insuring that his pencil is accurately reflecting his ideas and his synthesis of the text. Jackson, whose name I have changed to protect his identity, has been in prison since he was sixteen. He is twenty-five now, and says that receiving an education is the only thing that has kept him going. “I feel pride when I carry this notebook around,” he says.
-Clint Smith