Thursday, December 23, 2010

Prisoners strike for Human Rights!

The prisoner's demand:
* A LIVING WAGE FOR WORK: In violation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude, the DOC demands prisoners work for free.
* EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: For the great majority of prisoners, the DOC denies all opportunities for education beyond the GED, despite the benefit to both prisoners and society.
* DECENT HEALTH CARE: In violation of the 8th Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments, the DOC denies adequate medical care to prisoners, charges excessive fees for the most minimal care and is responsible for extraordinary pain and suffering.
* AN END TO CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENTS: In further violation of the 8th Amendment, the DOC is responsible for cruel prisoner punishments for minor infractions of rules.
* DECENT LIVING CONDITIONS: Georgia prisoners are confined in over-crowded, substandard conditions, with little heat in winter and oppressive heat in summer.
* NUTRITIONAL MEALS: Vegetables and fruit are in short supply in DOC facilities while starches and fatty foods are plentiful.
* VOCATIONAL AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES: The DOC has stripped its facilities of all opportunities for skills training, self-improvement and proper exercise.
* ACCESS TO FAMILIES: The DOC has disconnected thousands of prisoners from their families by imposing excessive telephone charges and innumerable barriers to visitation.
* JUST PAROLE DECISIONS: The Parole Board capriciously and regularly denies parole to the majority of prisoners despite evidence of eligibility.

"Community reliance is our legacy of survival"

"No justice for victims raped in custody"

"Locked far too long behind the walls"

"Court: No proof Black August incites prison violence"

"Georgia prisoners’ strike: ‘We locked ourselves down’"

"The largest inmate protest in US history"
2010-12-11 "GA Prisoner Strike Continues a Second Day, Corporate Media Mostly Ignores Them, Corrections Officials Decline Comment" by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
The peaceful strike begun by inmates of several Georgia state prisons continued for a second day on Friday, according to family members of some of the participants. Copyrighted news stories [4] by AP, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and local TV stations in Macon and Atlanta quote state corrections who say several institutions were placed on lockdown beginning Thursday in anticipation of the inmate protest, on the initiative of wardens of those prisons.
Offices of the wardens at Hay's, Macon State, Telfair, and Augusta state all referred our inquiries to the Department of Corrections public affairs officer, who so far has declined to return our repeated calls.
The prisoner strike in Georgia is unique, sources among inmates and their families say, because it includes not just black prisoners, but Latinos and whites too, a departure from the usual sharp racial divisions that exist behind prison walls.
Inmate families and other sources claim that when thousands of prisoners remained in their cells Thursday, authorities responded with violence and intimidation. Tactical officers rampaged through Telfair State Prison destroying inmate personal effects and severely beating at least six prisoners. Inmates in Macon State Prison say authorities cut the prisoners' hot water, and at Telfair the administration shut off heat Thursday when daytime temperatures were in the 30s. Prisoners responded by screening their cells with blankets, keeping prison authorities from performing an accurate count, a crucial aspect of prison operations.
As of Friday, inmates at several prisons say they are committed to continuing the strike. “We are going to ride it,” the inmate press release quotes one, “till the wheels fall off. We want our human rights.” The peaceful inmate strike is being led from within the prison. Some of those thought to be its leaders have been placed under close confinement.
The nine specific demands made by Georgia's striking prisoners in two press releases pointedly reflect many of the systemic failures of the U.S. regime of mass incarceration, and the utter disconnection of U.S. prisons from any notions of protecting or serving the public interest. Prisoners are demanding, in their own words, decent living conditions, adequate medical care and nutrition, educational and self-improvement opportunities, just parole decisions, just parole decisions, an end to cruel and unusual punishments, and better access to their families.
It's a fact that Georgia prisons skimp on medical care and nutrition behind the walls, and that in Georgia's prisons recreational facilities are non-existent, and there are no educational programs available beyond GED, with the exception of a single program that trains inmates to be Baptist ministers.
Inmates know that upon their release they will have no more education than they did when they went in, and will be legally excluded from Pell Grants and most kinds of educational assistance, they and their families potentially locked into a disadvantaged economic status for life.
Despite the single biggest predictor of successful reintegration into society being sustained contact with family and community, Georgia's prison authorities make visits and family contact needlessly difficult and expensive. Georgia no longer allows families to send funds via US postal money orders to inmates.
It requires families to send money through J-Pay [5], a private company that rakes off nearly ten percent of all transfers. Telephone conversations between Georgia prisoners and their families are also a profit centers for another prison contractor, Global Tel-Link [6] which extracts about $55 a month for a weekly 15 minute phone call from cash-strapped families. It's hard to imagine why the state cannot operate reliable payment and phone systems for inmates and their families with public employees at lower cost, except that this would put contractors, who probably make hefty contributions to local politicians out of business.
Besides being big business, prisons are public policy [7]. The U.S. has less than five percent of the world's population, but accounts for almost a quarter of its prisoners. African Americans are one eighth this nation's population, but make up almost half the locked down. The nation's prison population increased more than 450% in a generation beginning about 1981. It wasn't about crime rates, because those went up, and then back down. It wasn't about rates of drug use, since African Americans have the same rates of drug use as whites and Latinos.
Since the 1980s, the nation has undertaken a well-documented policy of mass incarceration, focused primarily though not exclusively on African Americans. The good news is that public policies are ultimately the responsibility of the public to alter, to change or do do away with. America's policy of mass incarceration is overdue for real and sustained public scrutiny.
A movement has to be built [8] on both sides of the walls that will demand an end to the prison industry and to the American policy of mass incarceration. That movement will have to be outside the Republican and Democratic parties. Both are responsible for building this system, and both rely on it to sustain their careers.
The best Democrats could do on the 100 to 1 crack to powder cocaine disparity this year, with a black president in the White House and thumping majorities in the House and Senate was to reduce it to 18 to 1, and then only by lengthening the sentences for powder cocaine. On this issue, Democrats and Republicans are part of the problem, not the solution. As this article goes to print Saturday morning, it's not known whether the strike will continue a third day.
With prison officials not talking, and corporate media ignoring prisoners not just this week but every day, outlets like Black Agenda Report [9] and the web site upon which you're reading this are among the chief means inmates and their families have of communicating with the public. The prisoners are asking the public to continue to call the Georgia Department of Corrections, and the individual prisons listed below to express concern for the welfare of the prisoners.
Prison is about corruption, power and isolation. You can help break the isolation by calling the wardens' offices at the following prisons. Prisons, naturally , are open Saturdays and Sundays too.

2010-12-13 "Biggest Prison Protest In History Underway In Georgia" by NewsOne Staff
From Correntewire and Davey D’s Hip-Hop Blog Georgia — On Thursday morning, December 9, 2010, thousands of Georgia prisoners refused to work, stopped all other activities and locked down in their cells in a peaceful protest for their human rights.
The December 9 Strike became the biggest prisoner protest in the history of the United States. Thousands of men, from Augusta, Baldwin, Hancock, Hays, Macon, Smith and Telfair State Prisons, among others, initiated this strike to press the Georgia Department of Corrections (“DOC”) to stop treating them like animals and slaves and institute programs that address their basic human rights.
Despite that the prisoners’ protest remained non-violent, the DOC violently attempted to force the men back to work—claiming it was “lawful” to order prisoners to work without pay, in defiance of the 13th Amendment’s abolition of slavery.
In Augusta State Prison, six or seven inmates were brutally ripped from their cells by CERT Team guards and beaten, resulting in broken ribs for several men, one man beaten beyond recognition. This brutality continues there.
At Telfair, the Tactical Squad trashed all the property in inmate cells.
At Macon State, the Tactical Squad has menaced the men for two days, removing some to the “hole,” and the warden ordered the heat and hot water turned off.
Still, today, men at Macon, Smith, Augusta, Hays and Telfair State Prisons say they are committed to continuing the strike.
Inmate leaders, representing blacks, Hispanics, whites, Muslims, Rastafarians, Christians, have stated the men will stay down until their demands are addressed, one issuing this statement: “…Brothers, we have accomplished a major step in our struggle…We must continue what we have started…The only way to achieve our goals is to continue with our peaceful sit-down…I ask each and every one of my Brothers in this struggle to continue the fight. ON MONDAY MORNING, WHEN THE DOORS OPEN, CLOSE THEM. DO NOT GO TO WORK. They cannot do anything to us that they haven’t already done at one time or another. Brothers, DON’T GIVE UP NOW. Make them come to the table. Be strong. DO NOT MAKE MONEY FOR THE STATE THAT THEY IN TURN USE TO KEEP US AS SLAVES….”
When the strike began, prisoner leaders issued the following call: “No more slavery. Injustice in one place is injustice to all. Inform your family to support our cause. Lock down for liberty!”
So calls to the warden’s office of the following Georgia State Prisons expressing concern for the welfare of the prisoners during this and the next few days are welcome.

Macon State Prison is 978-472-3900.
Hays State Prison is at (706) 857-0400
Telfair State prison is 229-868-7721
Baldwin State Prison is at (478) 445- 5218
Valdosta State Prison is 229-333-7900
Smith State Prison is at (912) 654-5000
The Georgia Department of Corrections is at and their phone number is 478-992-5246

2010-12-14 "Prisoner Advocate Elaine Brown on Georgia Prison Strike: “Repression Breeds Resistance”"
At least four prisons in Georgia remain in lockdown five days after prisoners went on strike in protest of poor living and working conditions. Using cell phones purchased from guards, the prisoners coordinated the nonviolent protests to stage the largest prison strike in U.S. history. There are reports of widespread violence and brutality by the guards against the prisoners on strike. We speak to longtime prison activist Elaine Brown of the newly formed group Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights. [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: "Seize the Time" by Elaine Brown, who is our next guest. That’s right.
At least four prisons in Georgia remain in lockdown five days after prisoners went on strike in protest of poor living and working conditions. Using cell phones purchased from the guards, the prisoners were able to coordinate the protests across Georgia.
On Monday, Georgia officials confirmed four prisons are still in lockdown: Hays State Prison in Trion, Macon State Prison in Oglethorpe, Telfair State Prison in Helena, and Smith State Prison in Glennville.
There have also been reports of prisoners going on strike in several other facilities. The prisoners say they’ll continue refusing to leave their cells or perform their jobs until they receive better medical care and nutrition, more educational opportunities, payment for the work they do in the prisons. In addition, they’re demanding just parole decisions, an end to cruel and unusual punishments, and better access to their families.
Well, joining us now is the longtime prison activist Elaine Brown. She’s a member of the newly formed group Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights. She’s the former chair of the Black Panther Party. She’s joining us from Berkeley, California. Up until recently she lived in Atlanta, Georgia. Elaine Brown, it‘s being called the biggest prison strike in U.S. history. Explain what’s happening.
ELAINE BROWN: These men created what is effectively a spontaneous decision by networking with each other and saying, you know, “We’re tired of all of the abuse we’ve been suffering here,” as so many other prisoners before them have said. "We’re going to do something, but the something we’re going to do is not to try to initiate a violent response or initiate violence, but to simply say we will not work until we’re paid," and the other demands and petitions that they have made, as you’ve outlined.
And they made a decision that that would be on December 9th.
I have no idea why they picked that date and how they ended up getting perhaps ten prisons involved. But at that point, of course, the guards and the administration became aware of their intention. And so, when they locked down on the night of the 8th, their decision was to not get up. And they didn’t.
But the prison pretends, and the administration has pretended, that they locked the men down. But they’re talking about four prisons, and there were probably ten in the initial one-day strike, as it was slated to be.
They have refused—we’re in day six, and they are still holding out and saying they will not come out and work unless they can sit down at the table and begin to get their demands met and their issues dealt with.
AMY GOODMAN: Elaine Brown, your son is in the Macon State Prison? He is there, still on lockdown there?
ELAINE BROWN: Not only is he on lockdown, but he’s in the hole right now, because from almost day one or so, I was informed that he was taken off to the hole, deemed some sort of leader. Just for the sake of the record, because somebody asked—well, said, “Well, I understand Elaine Brown doesn’t have a son.” Well, I didn’t give birth to this boy. I have known him for 15 years, and I have been with him for that long, since he was incarcerated and put into an adult facility at 14 years old. And he’s done 14 years now. And so, he is my son for all—in all meaningful ways.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you describe the conditions in the Georgia state prison system, Elaine Brown?
ELAINE BROWN: Well, I’m sure they’re not very much different from other prisons, I mean, or as the men would say, the chain gang or the camp they’re in. You know, you have overcrowded conditions.
There is no activity other than the work tasks that they’re assigned to do. In other words, there’s no real educational opportunities. There’s no exercise. There’s nothing else. The food is bad. They have poor nutrition. They have crowded—overcrowded cells.
A lot of the day-to-day thing, I think the most important part is that, as it was outlined many years ago in a Stanford study conducted by Dr. Phil Zimbardo, one of the most important things is that the constant violence being perpetrated against them by guards, who with their own idle time look to try and instigate an incident here or there, so there’s a lot of screaming, hollering, you know, aggressive behaviors that go on.
And so, there’s always some incident jumping off, as it were, and so forth and so on. It’s just a life of idle—idleness and violence and a lack of any basic human condition.
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about what they do in their work. I mean, among the conditions, the demands of the prisoners are a living wage for work, talking about being a violation of the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution that prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude. What are the work conditions? What are they paid? Are they paid? What are they—
ELAINE BROWN: No, in Georgia, they’re not even paid. They’re not paid one dime in the state of Georgia. I mean, the State Department of Corrections would like to say they have some workers that are paid.
There are probably some people doing life without parole who work at the Governor’s mansion, maybe 15 of them who might be getting some money.
But the prisoners in the state of Georgia are paid nothing at all. Now, that’s not to say that the prisoners in other states are being paid. They’re mostly being paid a dollar a day to 50 cents an hour. That would probably be the maximum.
So they’re not exactly being paid enough money to accumulate anything over the years of their incarceration and maybe come out of the prison with more than the $25 check they give them upon release in the state of Georgia.
So, they are not paid one single dime, and they are required to clean the floors, clean the showers, do the yard work, do the dishes, cook the food—in other words, to maintain the prison itself.
AMY GOODMAN: I’m looking at a report out of the Black Agenda Report, and it talks about how there’s no educational programs available beyond GED with the exception of a single program that trains inmates to be Baptist ministers.
ELAINE BROWN: That’s absolutely correct. I believe that’s at Phillips State Prison, and it’s a school out of Louisiana. And I think there are about 20 people even enrolled in that program. So, it’s almost pointless to even mention it.
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about how this largest prison strike in U.S. history was organized, sort of redefining the term "cell phone," Elaine Brown.
ELAINE BROWN: Well, you know, a lot of people have been fascinated by this, and I’m glad that you made note immediately that—you know, so many people say, “Well, these guys have contraband." Well, the greatest avenue for their obtaining these cell phones is by sales from guards, and these guards are selling these phones at exorbitant prices.
I learned the other day that one guy said he paid $800 to a guard for a cell phone that was probably worth about 50 bucks.
So, that’s the first point that has to be made, because people imagine that there’s all this smuggling going on—and there is, but it’s on the part of—in the main, on the part of guards that are inside these facilities.
The cell phone played a part, but the other part was that there are leaders of different factions in the prison, and they were able to sort of discuss what could they do.
Instead of fighting among themselves, is there anything that they could do to try to change the conditions of being just constantly bombarded with violent attacks, with, you know, idle time, and so forth and so on? And they—at some point, a number of them just decided, "Well, we just shouldn’t work."
And it just became a prairie fire. It was truly the spark that lit the prairie fire. And everybody was saying, “Well, I’m down with that. We’re not going to get up.” And each group—you know, you have blacks in various subsets, and you have Muslims, you have Mexicans and other Latinos, Hispanics, you have Whites, you have Rastafarians, you have Christians—all of them, for reasons that I cannot explain how they suddenly understood how to be unified, decided, “Yeah, we’re not working, and we’re down with this, and we’re not going to get up, and we’re going to stay united.”
And across the prisons, in the various sets, they called each other, sent text messages, and they all agreed to do it.
And they agreed on the date, and that was December 9.
AMY GOODMAN: Elaine, I interviewed you a long time ago when your memoir came out, A Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story. You’re the former chair of the Black Panther Party. Can you tell us a little bit about your life and how you came to be a prison activist today?
ELAINE BROWN: Well, it’s pretty—you know, it’s sort of organic, very much like this prisoner strike. You know, we used to say in the Black Panther Party, “Repression breeds resistance.” Pardon me. I was born in the ghettos of North Philadelphia—I was raised, rather, in the ghettos of North Philadelphia.
Even though I went to sort of privileged schools and so forth and so on, I was very conscious of that. When I ultimately joined the Black Panther Party at around 24 years old, I knew then that I was fully conscious that the things that I experienced in my life were a part of a larger picture and that I was a part of a group of people who were an oppressed group. From that point on, the question was liberation.
The aspects of our—of liberation and the ending of all exploitation, as we would say it, was just a matter of looking at all the various aspects of our oppression and how it played itself out.
In the Black Panther Party, there was a 10-point platform and program that articulated some of the manifestations of our general oppression, talking about lack of education, as a matter of fact, not having enough food and housing.
In essence, what we called for was freedom and right of self-determination.
We recognized that our plight was not much different as black people than other oppressed people, and we joined arms and forces with a variety of other groups like the Brown Berets, the Red Guard, the Young Lords, the Young Patriots, and so forth. And then we linked ourselves to the international struggle of people around the world for national liberation in Vietnam, throughout the continent of Africa, and in Latin America, South America.
So, we became internationalists.
And I remain that person. So it isn’t complicated to draw the line from that struggle to the struggle of the most oppressed group in America: the prisoner class.
The prisoners in this country, as you know, make up the largest prisoner group in the world. America confines more people than any single country at a higher rate and a higher—and the largest number. Fifty percent of those prisoners, or nearly 50 percent of them, are black men.
And so, we have to ask the question, how did that come to be?
Either the black men are the only people—when we consider that we black people make up approximately 12 to 13 percent of the overall population and yet almost 50 percent of the prison population, we have to ask the question, is this the result of some genetic flaw in black people?
Are we obviously some sort of criminally minded? Or is there something wrong in the scheme of things? Obviously, the latter is what I would say.
And so, I’ve committed myself to bringing people out of prison. I have a very close friend who was a member of the Black Panther Party here in California, who has been in prison since 1969, over 41 years, Chip Fitzgerald.
So I helped to organize the Committee to Free Chip Fitzgerald. These people have been buried in prison for their political beliefs, and they’ve been buried in prison for their poverty. There are no rich people languishing in the prisons of America.
So, there’s a class question. There’s a race question. And this is just a continuation of expressing my efforts or of continuing my efforts toward the goal of the liberation of all oppressed people.
AMY GOODMAN: Elaine Brown, I want to thank you very much for being with us and just ask you a final question about what you expect the outcome of—it was planned as a one-day strike, December 9th, biggest strike in U.S. history in prisons. But with the lockdown continuing in a number of the state prisons in Georgia, what’s going to happen?
ELAINE BROWN: Well, we—this coalition that you have mentioned, the Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoner Rights, which includes everything from the NAACP national office and the state office to the Nation of Islam and a number of other organizations, All of Us or None, so forth, across the country, we’ve been talking in conference calls over the last two days.
We are having a meeting at this point with either the commissioner or deputy commissioner of the Department of Corrections.
We plan on imploring them to first stop instigating the situation and trying to escalate it to a violent confrontation, which is what they are doing by prodding men with everything, turning off the heat, beating people, forcing them out of their cells, turning off the hot water, destroying and trashing people’s property, not feeding them, and so forth and so on, all kinds of tactics to instigate a violent response.
So our first goal is to make sure this does not become Attica, although it is not like Attica because the prisoners have not taken hostages or anything of this sort. They are simply not leaving their cells.
AMY GOODMAN: Elaine Brown, we’re going to have to leave it there.
ELAINE BROWN: And then the next step—
AMY GOODMAN: But I thank you very much for being with us.
ELAINE BROWN: Alright, thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: Longtime prison activist—
ELAINE BROWN: OK, thank you.
AMY GOODMAN:—former chair of the Black Panther Party. Thank you so much. We’ll continue to follow the Georgia strike.

2010-12-15 "A letter to the prisoners on strike in Georgia"
A handful of East Bay [California] organizations have put together an open letter to the strikers.
If your organization would like to become a signatory, you can do so here: [].
There will be a meeting tonight to plan a solidarity rally: 6pm at the Laney College Student Center [Oakland]. All are welcome.
We, as members of activist and community organizations in the Bay Area of California, send our support for your strike against the terrible conditions you face in Georgia’s prisons. We salute you for making history as your strike has become the largest prison strike in the history of this nation. As steadfast defenders of human and civil rights, we recognize the potential that your action has to improve the lives of millions subject to inhumane treatment in correctional facilities across this country.
Every single day, prisoners face the same deplorable and unnecessarily punitive conditions that you have courageously decided to stand up against. For too long, this nation has chosen silence in the face of the gross injustices that our brothers and sisters in prison are subjected to. Your fight against these injustices is a necessary and righteous struggle that must be carried out to victory.
We have heard about the brutal acts that Georgia Department of Corrections officers have been resorting to as a means of breaking your protest and we denounce them. In order to put a stop to the violence to which you have been subjected, we are in the process of contacting personnel at the different prison facilities and circulating petitions addressed to the governor and the Georgia DOC. We will continue to expose the DOC’s shameless physical attacks on you and use our influence to call for an immediate end to the violence.
Here, in the Bay Area, we are all too familiar with the violence that this system is known to unleash upon our people. Recently, our community erupted in protest over the killing of an unarmed innocent black man named Oscar Grant by transit police in Oakland. We forced the authorities to arrest and convict the police officer responsible for Grant’s murder by building up a mass movement. We intend to win justice with you and stop the violent repression of your peaceful protest in the same way—by appealing to the power and influence of the masses.
We fully support all of your demands. We strongly identify with your demand for expanded educational opportunities. In recent years, our state government has been initiating a series of massive cuts to our system of public education that continue to endanger our right to a quality, affordable education; in response, students all across our state have stood up and fought back just as you are doing now. In fact, students and workers across the globe have begun to organize and fight back against austerity measures and the corresponding violence of the state. Just in the past few weeks in Greece, Ireland, Spain, England, Italy, Haiti, Puerto Rico – tens and hundreds of thousands of students and workers have taken to the streets. We, as a movement, are gaining momentum and we do so even more as our struggles are unified and seen as interdependent. At times we are discouraged; it may seem insurmountable, but in the words of Malcolm X, “Power in defense of freedom is greater than power on behalf of tyranny and oppression.”
You have inspired us. News of your strike, from day one, has served to inspire and invigorate hundreds of students and community organizers here in Berkeley and Oakland alone. We are especially inspired by your ability to organize across color lines and are interested in hearing an account from the inside of how this process developed and was accomplished. You have also encouraged us to take more direct actions toward radical prison reform in our own communities, namely Santa Rita County Jail and San Quentin Prison. We are now beginning the process of developing a similar set of demands regarding expediting processing (can take 20-30 hours to get a bed, they call it “bullpen therapy”), nutrition, visiting and phone calls, educational services, legal support, compensation for labor and humane treatment in general. We will also seek to unify the education and prison justice movements by collaborating with existing organizations that have been engaging in this work.
We echo your call: No more Slavery! Injustice to one is injustice to all!
In us, students, activists, the community members and people of the Bay Area, you have an ally. We will continue to spread the news about your cause all over the Bay Area and California, the country and world. We pledge to do everything in our power to make sure your demands are met.
In solidarity,
* UC-Berkeley Student Worker Action Team (SWAT)
* Community Action Project (CAP)
* La Voz de los Trabajadores
* Laney College Student Unity & Power (SUP) (
* Laney College Black Student Union (BSU)
* Bay Area Solidarity and the Social Justice Committee of the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian-Universalists
* Bay Area United Against War Newsletter (
* Socialist Viewpoint magazine (
* Workers International League (
* Bay Area ISO (
* We Are the Crisis (UC Davis Chapter)
* Bicycle Barricades (UC Davis)
* Socialist Action
* Socialist Organizer
* San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper (
* Academic Workers for a Democratic Union
* UAW Local 2865 (
* UC-Berkeley Black Student Union (BSU)
* SF State Black Student Union (BSU)
* SF State Student Unity & Power (SUP)
* Advance the Struggle (AS)
* Bail Out the People Movement
* Prison Activist Resource Center
* Stan Tookie Williams Legacy Network
* Bay Area Campaign to End the Dealth Penalty
* Kevin Cooper Defense Committee
* Bay Area Solidarity
*Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
* Workers Action

2010-12-16 "Prisoners demand ‘our human rights’"

2010-12-16 "The Largest Prison Strike in American History Goes Ignored by US Media" by Joe Weber from "Death and Taxes Magazine"
Today marks the end of a seven-day strike where tens of thousands of inmates in Georgia refused to work or leave their cells until their demands had been met. The odd thing is, that until today, no one had ever heard about this strike.
Inmates in ten Georgia prisons, Baldwin, Hancock, Hays, Macon, Smith and Telfair State Prisons, to name a few, went on strike last Thursday to protest their treatment and demand their human rights.
According to an article by Facing South, Department of Corrections have been nervous about deteriorating conditions in Georgia's prisons since early 2010. Wardens started triple bunking prisoners in response to budget cuts - squeezing three prisoners into cells intended for one.
Prison officials have kept a watchful eye out for prisoners meaning to riot, for prisoners' rights lawyers to litigate, or both.
Poor conditions and substandard medical care are also on the inmates' list of demands. However, the jaileds' main gripe seems to center on landing recognition as workers entitled to fair pay.
As it goes, prisoners in Georgia are forced to work without pay for their labor - seemingly a violation of the 13th Amendment, which prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude.
For months the prisoners had apparently used cell phones to get in touch with inmates from other prisons, organizing a non-violent strike. The outcome began the morning of Dec. 9 - by Dec. 13 the GDC issued a statement that four prisons were completely on strike.
An interview with one of the strike leaders revealed that every group of inmates in the prison had been working together. "They want to break up the unity we have here," said an anonymous strike leader in an interview with the Black Agenda Report. "We have the Crips and the Bloods, we have the Muslims, we have the head Mexicans, and we have the Aryans all with a peaceful understanding, all on common ground."
The largest prison strike in American history seems like a topic ripe for the press, however there was no mention of it anywhere in mainstream media. Smaller outlets like Black Agenda Report and Facing South (Institute for Southern Studies) have been covering the strike since day one. Perhaps there was a larger hand at play - one that did not want the deplorable conditions of the Georgia prison system to surface. If Wikileaks has taught us anything, it is that the revolution will be televised.

2010-12-16 "Ride it ‘til the wheels fall off … "
Georgia – On December 9, 2010, thousands of Georgia prisoners struck – making it the biggest prisoner protest in the history of the United States. What does this mean? Prisoners across the Georgia penitentiary system collectively refused to cooperate with the system incarcerating them, to leave their cells, to work for free for the government. They organized to exert direct control over their bodies, their lives and their circumstances, something they could only do by acting in concert in the thousands. Since December 9, the initial strike day, thousands have continued their struggle against brutal, punitive, unjust conditions, standing up against extreme violence from the prison guard forces.
Despite its size, the unique thing about this prisoner resistance is that it uses the most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the proletariat: consciously and collectively withholding its labor power across the divisions created by bourgeois ideology and its division of labor. One prisoner put out the following statement:
"…Brothers, we have accomplished a major step in our struggle…We must continue what we have started…The only way to achieve our goals is to continue with our peaceful sit-down…I ask each and every one of my Brothers in this struggle to continue the fight. ON MONDAY MORNING, WHEN THE DOORS OPEN, CLOSE THEM. DO NOT GO TO WORK. They cannot do anything to us that they haven’t already done at one time or another. Brothers, DON’T GIVE UP NOW. Make them come to the table. Be strong. DO NOT MAKE MONEY FOR THE STATE THAT THEY IN TURN USE TO KEEP US AS SLAVES…."
Across and against the extreme racial antagonisms which exist throughout all of capitalist society but especially in the USA’s “corrections” system, prisoners of all colors united against a common enemy: the coercive, violent, exploitative force of their captors. Organized through existing networks of prison life, using cell phones purchased from guards (who profit from illicit trade with the prisoners – charging as much as $800 for a cell phone!), the strike has put forward intelligible, clear, justifiable demands – demands that many of us can identify with as exploited workers, but also demands that go beyond working conditions or wages to challenge the logic of incarceration in the US today.
[ ... here the article reprints the list of demands of the prisoner strike ... ]
It is considered acceptable that millions among us must work for wages that cannot support a whole, healthy existence. It is considered natural that millions of people are locked in cages without recourse, without dignity, without opportunity, exploited and closed off from society. Perhaps the most brutally exploited people in this country have organized the largest strike in the history of jails and one of very few strikes in the US in the last decade.
On Friday December 10, one prisoner expressed the commitment to the cause, “We are going to ride it, till the wheels fall off. We want our human rights.” It’s interesting to note the usage of “human rights” in this struggle. On the one hand, the usage of “human rights” is a strong universalizing element, something with appeal across the divided working class. It is also true that prisoners are so tightly and violently contained that the prison system constitutes an attack on their basic humanity, stealing it from them and reducing them to bare, brute life.
Slavery and Prisons -
The United States of America’s incarceration project has a long history in this country connected to Black slavery. American slavery produced immense wealth for this country, propelling it to become the richest country in the world. That is why Abolitionist Frederick Douglass wrote in 1845 about the law-abiding citizens of America: “I could regard them in no other light than a band of successful robbers, who had left their homes, and gone to Africa, and stolen us from our homes, and in a strange land reduced us to slavery.” In fact, the entire capitalist world-system was only made possible by the massive surpluses that came out of black slave labor.
After Karl Marx had to flee France from its Napoleonic counter-revolution, he brainstormed in his Grundrisse how capitalism functions as a totality . Reflecting on Slavery in the US in 1857, Marx commented that Capitalism ”incessantly whips onward with its unlimited mania for wealth” (325, italics added). Marx was to later argue in Capital that “Whilst the cotton industry introduced child-slavery in England, it gave in the United States a stimulus to the transformation of the earlier, more or less patriarchal slavery, into a system of commercial exploitation. In fact, the veiled slavery of the wage-earners in Europe needed, for its pedestal, slavery pure and simple in the New World.”
When the 13th amendment of our constitution was implemented to abolish slavery, it maintained an important exception, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
As Slavery was abolished in 1865, many of the first prisons were old slave plantations, like Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as Angola. The Black Codes were implemented after slavery branding almost every former slave as a criminal and many southern states was built and maintained by convicts. For example, aged African-American women convicts dug the campus of Georgia State College, and prisoners as young as twelve worked in chain gangs to maintain the streets of Atlanta.
The American ruling class punished the working class for its black-led but multiracial militancy of the post-World War II era by disciplining the industries and spaces with high concentrations of blacks. This began with reigning in the unions after WWII, and continued with “automation,” a process in which machines and robots replace living, thinking, human labor. In the 1960s, capital began pulling their industry and factories out of major US cities altogether, effecting places like Detroit and Los Angeles particularly hard.
In inverse proportion to de-industrialization, incarceration skyrocketed, and became even more racist in its targeting of the black proletariat. In 1954, there were 98,000 African-Americans in prison or jail. By 1974, that number had crept up to 153,500. By 1994, it had grown fourfold to 635,000. And in 2002, it had risen to a record high of 884,500. Some 50% of the prison population is Black: Over a million of the almost 3 million people in prison are Black–even though Black people comprise nowhere near 50% of the US populace. Overwhelming numbers of prisoners are poor people, people from working-poor families and poor communities. Overwhelming numbers are people of color and most are not “violent offenders.”
Prisoners are confined to conditions involving brutal super-exploitation and complete containment. Ripped largely from proletarian communities, systematically denied access to the basic productive and reproductive power of society, prisoners and their labor are violently controlled and regulated by the state which claims direct control over their bodies, energies and activity–a relationship not unlike ownership. Prisoners form a unique and specific sector of the proletariat, bordering on a class unto themselves–and yet they are not separate from their families, their neighborhoods, the exploitation and oppression of society at large.
This breaking up of communities has always been an indispensable component of the political side of capital accumulation, going back to the disruption of African societies for the slave trade and Native American societies for colonial access to land. To this day, war for conquest of land and total political control of labor remains every bit as crucial to the processes of capital accumulation – the logic of our system.
The “Georgia” Lessons -
The American South is the place in our country where the capitalist ruling class enjoys the most power over the proletariat. There, unions have always met with the most difficult labor laws (“right to work states” are called that because workers have the “right” not to be in a union). There, a legacy lives of activists being killed by racists. There, most social movements have the weakest presence. The stratified racist culture still permeates social relations deepest. Georgia in particular has the nation’s highest rate of correctional control; 1 in 13 adults is either in prison, in jail, on probation, or on parole. The nationwide figure is 1 in 31.
The prison population is often analyzed in terms of its racial make-up, but political thinkers of all types too often fail to note that nearly all prisoners are almost all proletarians – people who own no productive property and, must work or die. But incarcerated proletarians are not “simply” proletarians on the outside, because they cannot sell their labor-power to the master of their choice. Precisely because prisoners are not usually forced to work for free, they are not in exactly the same class relation as slaves. Although capital (such as Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison company in the country) feed extensively off the prison system by warehousing a huge chunk – about 3 million people!- in just this manner. Many prisoners are not even involved in productive labor and are instead consigned to atrophy, denied any productive expression of their life force whatsoever. Those who are coerced to produce do so for little or no payment at all.
In such an environment we left in awe, wonder how was it prisoners engaged in an incredibly well-coordinated multiracial struggle? For this strike to have prisoners who see themselves as modern-day slaves, who built a strike against prison work and prison conditions, it becomes a political act that we can all learn from on how to fight our conditions.
It is important and meaningful to note that the goals and demands around which many of us have rallied in the past year are not that different from those of the strikers: Access to education; defense against state violence; living wages; decent food and living conditions – our whole class is fighting for dignity and survival! The demands of the prisoners are in many ways the demands of our class and our struggle for justice and liberation. Their self-activity is part of a long tradition in the US, using tactics that blend those of the Lucasville prison uprising of 1993 [] and the Republic Windows and Doors workplace occupation []. It is undeniably a historical event, one in a chain of struggles that never fully come to an end. The more we can celebrate and remember the concepts and forms utilized in the past, the more well-honed our own arsenal of tactics will become.
Like the student movement, these prisoners are organized through informal networks, rather than institutionalized organizations like unions. The strike was organized out of really existing social relationships, and the strikers have been subjected to extreme repression in the face of which they have continued their struggle. Many of us try very hard to figure out how our communities and the relationships which compose them can be galvanized with such focus and force. It’s a breath of fresh air to see the economic struggle confront the state in this direct action strike form. If prisoners in Georgia under such oppressive conditions and a racist environment can organize themselves, break down racial divisions, and organize and sustain class struggle in the most heavily policed place on earth, why can’t we?
Solidarity with the Strikers – Struggle in the Class -
In the Bay Area and across the nation, there has been a growing movement against budget cuts, for immigrants rights, and against police murder and brutality. The challenge is always how to fuse these seemingly separate struggles into one overarching offensive of , by, and for proletarian power. Every action by the working class to realize its freedom must be honored and every opportunity to build bridges between them seized upon. The prisoner strike in Georgia must be publicized and its lessons spread amongst the proletariat – both on the “inside” and on the “outside” of capitalism’s racist dungeons.
As we write this, support actions are being organized and they’re catalyzed through relationships and groups which have grown in part out of the struggles against police brutality and attacks on public services (most notably education) that have rocked the bay recently.
Check out the post over at the blog thosewhouseit [], where comrades are spreading the word and helping to organize solidarity with the strikers. Or read the letter of solidarity issued by a group of dedicated Bay Area organizers who have initiated a coalition effort to actively show solidarity with the strikers []. On Friday December 17th, there will be a protest at 5pm in front of North County jail in downtown Oakland 7th street and Clay (check the flyer image for more details.)
Perhaps this working class activity at the very bottom of the class structure will trickle up and infect the whole proletariat. If that happens, we could one day look back at the Georgia prison strike as the beginning of the end for capitalist America. A closing quote from WEB DuBois’ book, Black Folks: Then and Now:
"…the South saw just as quickly that here was a point of fatal weakness which they had unconsciously feared. The moment that any considerable number, not to mention the majority, of their four million slaves stopped work, much less took up arms, the cause of the South was lost."
All power to the prisoners, and therefore to the class!

2010-12-17 "OAKLAND COMMUNITY TO RALLY IN SUPPORT OF GEORGIA PRISONER STRIKE; Day of Solidarity will feature Former Black Panther Chairman Elaine Brown"
Media Contact: Anastasia Gomes Phone: 347-576-3621
Oakland, CA – Friday, December 17, 2010 – Community activists will take to the streets again this Friday to show support for an ongoing prisoners strike in Georgia, the largest prison strike in U.S. history. Supporters of the strike will rally at North County Jail (6th street between Jefferson and Clay) at 4pm before marching over to City Hall for a convergence at 6pm, where former Black Panther Chairman Elaine Brown is set to speak in support of the Strikers. “Prisoners in Georgia are striking over basic human rights such as compensation for their work, healthy meals, and adequate medical care. These horrible conditions are taking place right here in California too and the community can no longer ignore these abuses,” said Zak Solomon, a student organizer. Activists say this is just the beginning of a larger campaign started by the Georgia strikers. The campaign will include an array of tactics including organized boycotts of companies contracting prison services, public demonstrations and educational outreach. Clifton Rashad, another organizer who was previously involved with the Oscar Grant protests said that the movement against state violence couldn’t end at arrest: “being killed is not the end of the story. The police brutality that we’ve seen with Oscar Grant and Derrick Jones and countless others, doesn’t stop there. It continues in the silent stories of most every incarcerated person, disproportionately drawn from working class communities of color all over the country”.
Photo: Malaika Kambon, People’s Eye Photography

2010-12-20 "Surviving solitary confinement"

2010-12-20 "The incarceration capitol of the U.S."

2010-12-20 "Statement of solidarity with Georgia prisoner strike"
On Dec. 9, 2010, thousands of prisoners in at least six Georgia state prisons initiated the largest prisoner strike in U.S. history, uniting across racial boundaries to demand an immediate end to the cruel and dehumanizing conditions that damage prisoners, their families and the communities they return to. Prisoners are demanding a living wage for work, increased educational opportunities, decent health care, an end to cruel and unusual punishment, decent living conditions, nutritional meals, vocational and self-improvement opportunities, access to families and just parole decisions. These demands are not only fair and just, but mandatory under international human rights law and the U.S. Constitution. And it is not just Georgia where these conditions exist. Prisoners throughout this country are subject to routine dehumanization, violence, denial of basic medical care, separated from their families, exposed to illnesses and obstructed from accessing the court. Jails and prisons throughout the U.S. are routinely in violation of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It is imperative that members of the legal community, human rights advocates, social justice activists, faith communities and concerned members of the general public mobilize in support of prisoners and their families in this urgent moment. Georgia prison authorities have reportedly reacted to the peaceful strike with violence. The threat of retaliation will remain for the foreseeable future, and we must rise to the occasion with increased vigilance and action. We are especially asking that members of the legal community recognize their unique role and serious responsibility in working to support prisoners and communities targeted by policies of mass incarceration. We must also seize this opportunity to support and strengthen those forces fighting against race and class-based policies of mass incarceration. Under the cover of a cynical drug war, the U.S. has constructed the largest prison economy in the history of the planet, incarcerating more of its own people than any other nation in the world. And when evidence of the pervasive targeting of communities of color at every level of the criminal legal system is recognized for what it is, there is only one conclusion to arrive at: Mass incarceration is the new Jim Crow. Like the old Jim Crow, this system serves to perpetuate institutionalized racism, economic inequality and political disenfranchisement. It seeks to pit poor whites and people of color against each other in order to keep working and middle class communities subordinate to a political and economic order that prioritizes profit at the expense of our communities and our democracy. The transcending of the politics of racial antagonism by the prisoners in Georgia striking for their human rights and human dignity is a profound call for the renewal of visionary mass movements for social justice and freedom in this country. Our communities outside of these walls are in dire need of human rights as well: health care, educational opportunities, jobs, food, housing, peace and a livable planet. In building an integrated mass movement for human rights inside and outside the prisons, we are also working to undermine the conditions of social, economic and political inequalities that fuel crime and violence. We are asking that others sign onto this statement of solidarity and make a commitment to take action in support of the prisoners in Georgia, to take action in support of prisoners’ rights and to help build a historic mass movement against mass incarceration and for universal human rights and dignity. To add your signature, go to []. Solidarity and Struggle,
* Center for Constitutional Rights
* Noam Chomsky
* Professor Michelle Alexander, Ohio State University
* Professor Jules Lobel, University of Pittsburgh Law School
* Professor Marjorie Cohn, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
* Rosa Clemente, 2008 Green Party Vice President Candidate
* California Coalition for Women Prisoners
* Human Rights Coalition-Chester
* Human Rights Coalition-Philadelphia
* Human Rights Coalition-Fed Up! Pittsburgh
* Vania Gulston,
* Jordan Flaherty, Louisiana Justice Institute
* Paradise Gray, Executive Director, One Hood
* International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
* Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition
* MOVE Organization
* Prison Radio,
* Redwood Justice Fund
* Noelle Hanrahan
* Pam Africa
* Dr. Suzanne Ross
* Steven Gotzler, National Lawyers Guild National Vice President
* Heidi Boghosian, National Lawyers Guild Executive Director
* Annie Paradise, student, Anthropology Department, California Institute of Integral Studies
* Paul Wright, Editor, Prison Legal News,* Deirdre Wilson, Program Coordinator for California Coalition for Women Prisoners and proud member of All of Us or None!

2010-12-20 "Local Oakland activists show solidarity for striking Georgia prisoners" []
Bay Area community activists rallied Friday in front of an Oakland jail to show solidarity for Georgia prisoners who had organized an unprecedented strike in at least seven of their state's penitentiaries. A diverse group of about 40 gathered at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in downtown Oakland, including children and the elderly. Protesters exchanged personal statements of unity with the striking prisoners and their desires to reform the criminal justice system. They then marched to Oakland City Hall, where a scheduled line-up of speeches and performances was cancelled due to rain. Gerald Smith, an electrician and long-time Oakland resident, said he resonated with the cause because he’s had incarcerated family members and knows the seriousness of prison conditions. Smith said even prisoners need dignity and a living wage. “When you imprison and pay 25 cents an hour for the same work that people were getting $20 an hour for, that’s called super exploitation,” Smith said. Georgia prisoners are not paid at all for their work, with very few exceptions. The Georgia prison strikers have nine demands, including receiving a living wage for their work, as well as educational, vocational and self-improvement opportunities and nutritional meals. Prisoners began to organize themselves after a tobacco ban took effect in September. The New York Times reported [] the prisoners used contraband cell phones, many provided by prison guards at exorbitant prices, to communicate and organize themselves. While Georgia prison officials said they locked-down four prisons after learning of the planned strikes, prisoners said they locked themselves down [], refusing to leave their cells and work, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Timothy Killings said he felt inspired to participate at the local event because the Georgian strike reminded him of California’s system and how prisoners all across the country are treated. “The Georgia prison strike is something that we should pick up here on the Bay Area,” Killings said. “It’s like modern-day slavery to me.” California inmates make between 30 cents and 95 cents per hour, according to the California Prison Industry Authority, or CALPIA []. Additionally, 20 percent of their net wages are mandatorily deducted to a fund that benefits victims of crimes. CALPIA employs 5,900 inmates in 22 state prisons offering goods and services ranging from license plates and office furniture to printing services and coffee. Activists say they plan to keep organizing the local community through a larger campaign, which will include tactics such as boycotting companies that contract prison services, as well as planning public demonstrations and educational outreach. Anastasia Gomes, a graduate student at San Francisco State University, said Californians should care about the Georgia strike because it is directly related to the lack of economic opportunities. “There would be a lot more jobs with pay if prison labor wasn’t being used to undercut the wages of this kind of labor.” Prison advocate and former Black Panther Party chair Elaine Brown was scheduled to give an update of the Georgia situation at Oakland City Hall, but cancelled due to the weather. Organizers said they plan to hold a meeting with her next week to debrief and to plan future actions.
Supporters of the Georgia prison strikers rally in front of the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.

2010-12-21 "How Does the Biggest Prison Strike in American History Go Unnoticed? Georgia inmates' refusal to work in demand for humane treatment receives scant media coverage" by Mark Anthony Neal
Mark Anthony Neal teaches Black Popular Culture in the Department of African and African-American Studies at Duke University. Email Mark at Follow him on Twitter @NewBlackMan.
In September of 1971, more than a thousand prisoners at the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica , NY revolted in what eventually became one of the most famous prison standoffs in American history. Before the insurrection was bloodily quelled on orders of then New York State Governor Nelson Rockefeller, the prisoners demanded an improvement to the conditions that they were forced to live. In the midst of the Black Power Movement, Attica became a lasting symbol for demands for human and civil rights, even among the incarcerated.
In the spirit of Attica, nearly 40 years later, prisoners at six prisons in Georgia, organized a non-violent labor strike to demand better conditions for themselves. Specifically the inmates demanded a living wage for their work, educational opportunities, decent health care, an end to cruel and unusual punishment, decent living conditions, nutritional meals, opportunities for self-improvement (rehabilitation), access to their families and just parole decisions. Perhaps even more remarkable than the strike, in which inmates shared information via text messaging on phones bought from prison guards, is that the strike went virtually unnoticed by mainstream American media.
That so many chose to ignore what has been called the largest strike of its nature in American history, speak volumes to how Americans continue to think of the American Prison System or what scholars and activists have more commonly referred to as the “Prison Industrial Complex.” The inmates themselves have another word for their reality: “Slavery.” With the largest prison population in the world, prisons are big business, as Boyce Watkins recently noted.
Mirroring the convict leasing programs of the late 19th and early 20th century, where prisoners were leased as laborers to third parties, the Prison Industrial Complex is simple a new term for old practices. Even when States outlawed convict leasing, some States built prisons with the idea of generating income from within.
The infamous Mississippi State Prison, also known as Parchman Farm—referenced throughout August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson—is but one example of this phenomenon. Currently American prisoners are used as laborers to do jobs ranging from cleaning highways, to making furniture for federal agencies, moving library books at State Universities to any number of jobs that generate profits for other institutions, while paying the inmates, on average, $.40 cents a day, if they are paid at all.
Even better than hiring temporary employees, the Prison Industrial Complex allows companies the opportunity to “hire” workers on the lowest end of the wage scale, without having to worry about health insurance, sick-days or vacation time. In the backdrop of these practices is the fact that the building and privatization of prisons is one of the countries biggest growth industries, not only generating profits for those who build and own prisons, but creating jobs in communities suffering from economic decline. One well known example of this was the growth of prisons in New York State in the 1990s, many of them located in largely white rural towns.
Of course you can only have prison growth by having an increase of prisoners—according to the Sentencing Project there has been a 500% percent increase in the number of Americans incarcerated since 1980—and that was achieved in New York State via the Rockefeller Drug Laws, named after the same Governor responsible for the bloodshed at Attica, which increased the prison population with non-violent drug offenders. “Three Strikes” offenses had the same impact nationally.
The key to expanding prisons is to criminalize behavior that could be best treated medically or psychologically, like drug addiction. In the big business of American prisons, criminalizing “blackness” seems a critical component, with television shows like “Oz” and “The Wire” (despite all its complexity) and social panics over “sagging” helping to desensitize the American public to the realities of prison life.
With so many people benefitting economically and politically from the Prison Industrial Complex, it’s no surprise that mainstream media turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to the Georgia Prison Strike. In a society that has little regard for inmates or their rehabilitation, and a fundamental belief that that prisons only stockpile Black and Latino men who are innately criminal, we can expect little empathy for the fact that most prisoners, even if they are not living inhumane conditions are being economically exploited in ways that are apropos to chattel slavery.
Yet, American media must be held accountable for highlighting stories that shed light on the kind of inequities. Too often the bottom line for Corporate Media is covering the fact that famous people are sent to jail—think about coverage of Michael Vick and Paris Hilton as examples—and not what happens to everyday American citizens when they are in jail.
Mainstream media’s failure to cover, this and many other stories, only highlights the importance of independent and Black-owned independent media like Democracy Now, where host Amy Goodman interviewed former Black Panther leader and inmate advocate Elaine Brown, very early during the strike and Black Agenda Report, which published daily updates on the strike. With some much news reporting and even editorial content being dictated by economic bottom lines, it’s important that we all become vigilant in our support of independent media, who are interested in telling stories that matter, not stories that will generate profits.

2010-12-23 "10 inmates injured in riot at Arizona prison" from "Associated Press" newswire

Ten inmates have been injured after a riot at a private prison in central Arizona.
Eloy police say the disturbance occurred during Thursday afternoon's lunch hour at the Red Rock Correctional Facility and involved an estimated 110 inmates.
They say the riot was in an area of the prison that houses only California inmates.
It's unclear what triggered the riot, but prison staff used pepper spray and ended it within 10 minutes.
They say no staff members were injured and seven of the 10 inmates hurt were taken to hospitals outside the prison for treatment of injuries ranging from moderate to serious.
Prison officials say the 1,596-bed facility now is in lockdown.
Red Rock Correctional Center is owned by Corrections Corporation of America and houses male inmates for California and Hawaii and detainees of the U.S. Marshals Service.
CCA managers along with California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation investigators are investigating the disturbance.

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