Texas prison inmates organize strike

Citing “slave-like” working conditions and protesting low-quality food, water, prison overcrowding and low wages, a group of prisoners incarcerated in five Texas prisons have mobilized a strike and refused to report to assigned duties.

The strike began on April 4.

The five prisons from which inmates are on strike are administered by the Texas Correctional Industries (TCI), a privately-held firm which contracts with the state of Texas to manage a chain of correction facilities.

A key component of TCI’s method of rehabilitation is to employ inmates as labor to produce goods and services which are then sold to state-run agencies, public schools and a myriad of other state-supported groups in Texas.

Outlined in a letter written expressing prisoners’ concerns are demands including:  Sentence reduction for labor service, an elimination of co-pay for health services and a reduction of the state’s prison population.

Texas’ authorities are not alone in confronting a movement of this sort:  Prisoners in Ohio, Alabama, Virginia and Mississippi have made similar moves to advocate for prisoners’ rights.

Flyers from one group, the Prison Justice League, working on behalf of prisoners have been distributed and the group is now organizing a national “strike day” slated for September 9, the anniversary of the Attica, New York, prison riot.

 

[civilrights.findlaw.com] [RT News] [tci.tdcj.texas.gov] [documentcloud.org] [prisonjusticeleague.org] [Photo courtesy lds.org]