Incarcerated People in 17 US States Plan Prison Strike

Incarcerated Americans in at least 17 states will go on strike this coming week, refusing to perform labor and engaging in sit-ins and hunger strikes to demand major reforms to the country’s prison and criminal justice systems.

The Nationwide Prison Strike is planned for August 21, the day Nat Turner led an uprising of slaves in 1831, until September 9, the 47th anniversary of the Attica prison rebellion in which more than 40 people were killed.

Organizers of the action, which is endorsed by Jailhouse Lawyers Speak and the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), have released a list of ten demands for improvements to their living conditions, sentencing policies, and laws that allow for 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,” reads the list of demands. The 13th Amendment to the US Constitution allows for “slavery or involuntary servitude…as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”

Organizers are also calling for “access to rehabilitation programs” for incarcerated people and an end to “Death by Incarceration,” or life sentences without the possibility of parole.

A spokesperson for the strike called on Americans to support the protest, noting that inmates produce many of the products people use every day in the outside world—including Starbucks packaging, state license plates, and furniture.

“Prisoners want to be valued as contributors to our society. Every single field and industry is affected on some level by prisons, from our…

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