This past Tuesday, prisoners staged boycotts in 12 states citing ‘involuntary servitude”. “Nineteen days of peaceful protests are planned across the nation, organized largely by prisoners themselves,” states the Ed Pilkington of The Guardian. Subsequent strikes, and sit-ins, as well as protests against various payment streams of income by companies allowed to operate inside the prisons; such as, private phone companies (collect calls) will be forthcoming – initiated by the “Free Alabama Movement”. Alabama is known to have the worst overcrowding and dilapidated penal institutions that create unsafe warzones for prisoners.
The crux of the issue centers on the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution that banned involuntary servitude aka slavery, yet it exists in prisons to this day! Bloody uprisings have been happening on a regular basis with inmates bringing attention to the overcrowding, under-staffing, and inhumane living conditions in America’s prisons. There will be 20 days dedicated to this hopefully peaceful awareness. The last strike in 2016 involved 20,000 prisoners and 12 states, but there is an overriding agenda that is the mother of all strikes, Attica State Prison in 1971, which is being memorialized in this current event.
By Sharla Esparza