Dressed in a real prisoner’s clothing, an activist sat in silence on a busy college campus, alone inside a simulated solitary confinement cell drawn in chalk, on Thursday. Thousands of Texas prisoners spend about 23 hours a day in tiny confines with real walls holding them inside.
“Will you sign a postcard for my friend Alvaro?” asked Azzurra Crispino, another activist standing nearby.
The “prisoner” and his friend are part of Prison Abolition and Prisoner Support (PAPS), an Austin-based group that raises awareness about prison conditions while supporting the incarcerated. They were honoring June 11, a national day of action for long-term anarchist political prisoners held in dozens of cities around the world. For the hour and a half activists and supporters gathered under a shady tree at a corner of the University of Texas at Austin campus, the “prisoner” in the cell represented Alvaro Luna Hernandez, who has spent the last 13 years in solitary confinement in Texas prisons.