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Tag: Prison

Mainstream Media Ignores Mass Hunger & Work Strikes By Prisoners Nationwide

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

As hunger strikes and sporadic work stoppages continue at prisons across the country, the historic prison movement and the brutal retaliation inmates have faced because of it remain largely unreported in the mainstream media.

The media blackout continues even though tens of thousands of inmates are believed to have taken part in the ongoing strike, and a shift of guards at Holman Correctional Facility in Alabama also refused to work on Sept. 24.

“It’s interesting that the foreign press has been better to us,” said Azzurra Crispino, media co-chair of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, part of the Industrial Workers of the World union, which is supporting the strike. Inmates can join the IWW for free, regardless of their prison work status.

Prison Strike Organizer Melvin Ray: ‘International Human Rights Issues’ In Prisons Would Embarrass The US

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

Inmates around the country are demanding an end to inhumane conditions behind bars by participating in a growing wave of work stoppages, strikes, and other forms of activism.

A major nationwide strike began on Friday to mark the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison riots. Prisoners in 24 states and 40 facilities were expected to participate.

Although many of the prisons or units involved in the strike are on lockdown and not allowing communication with the outside, on Sunday, MintPress News obtained an exclusive interview with Melvin Ray, an organizer in the Free Alabama movement, who is incarcerated at William E Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer, Alabama, about 30 miles west of Birmingham.

“This is something we have to do on the inside, regardless of what people think on the outside, but we would like people to know and understand what we’re doing here even if they don’t agree and support it,” Ray told MintPress.

Austin Anarchist Black Cross: Solidarity With National Prison Strike (Audio Interview)

Posted in Austin, Journalism, and MintPress News

On Friday, I attended a small Austin protest held in solidarity with the national prison strike. This historic event was expected to take place at dozens of facilities around the country and potentially involve hundreds of inmates, and was scheduled to coincide with the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison riots.

About 15 people protested in South Austin at the showroom of Texas Correctional Industries, a private corporation that sells products made through unpaid prison labor. Although prisoners are not paid for their work, which is mandatory, TCI brought in over $88 million in fiscal year 2014.

I interviewed an anonymous member of the Austin Anarchist Black Cross for my article in The Texas Observer on the protest but, as so often happens in journalism, great quotes get cut because you run out of space. Fortunately, I obtained permission to share the interview on SoundCloud.

Texas Activists Protest Modern-Day ‘Slavery’ in Prisons

Posted in Austin, Journalism, and The Texas Observer

While prison inmates launched a nationwide strike last Friday — the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison riots — a small but vocal group of activists gathered in Austin to support their cause.

Hundreds of inmates have joined the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee(IWOC), a division of the Industrial Workers of the World union and a major motivator of the strike. Inmates at 40 facilities in 24 states were expected to take part, and some Texas prisoners have been engaging in work stoppages since April.

Prisoners say they want their work to count toward time off their sentences, improved living conditions in prisons, better access to attorneys during disputes, and an end to an annual $100 copay on medical services.

Boycott, But Then What? CodePink Wants You To Build A New, Local Peace Economy

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

Boycotts are a powerful tool in the arsenals of those seeking justice and a better world.

And while financial divestment from corporations can successfully pressure them to change their most harmful practices, divestment represents just the beginning of the long, difficult work of building a new, alternate economy that puts people and sustainability first.

“What we’re trying to do is encourage people to be more aware of and reflect on how we’re all invested in a war-like, violent, capitalist economy,” Mendoza Castillo, director of Economic Activism at CodePink, told MintPress News in an interview about her Local Peace Economy initiative.

European Governments Want To Combat Terrorism With Prison Segregation, Solitary Confinement

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

British and French prisons may soon employ controversial methods like solitary confinement and ‘terrorist-only’ units in an effort to curb radicalization efforts in prisons and to keep inmates from turning to terrorism.

Compared to their overall populations, England, Wales and France disproportionately imprison Muslims. A study conducted in March 2015 found that the number of Muslim prisoners in English and Welsh prisons increased 122 percent between 2002 and 2014, while the total number of prisoners only increased 20 percent over the same time period.

And although French laws prevent an exact count of Muslims in prison, it’s estimated that as many as 70 percent of the country’s 67,500 prisoners are Muslim.

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