Prisoners in 17 states are on strike, demanding an end to prison slavery and basic human justice

Originally published at:


I support the prisoners. Loss of autonomy is punishment enough. If they do work, they ought to be paid the going wage for it.


This might be the only way to stop mass incarceration. Make it unprofitable.


But why do they want to end basic human justice?


I think we need to join with the civilized world and end the practice of incarceration for crimes of mala prohibita. We also need to stop employing a putative prison system and move towards a rehabilitative one in order to reduce recidivism and the economic drain on our nation.


Because it’s a really easy demand to meet?

(I scanned the headline the same way as you did. “… demanding basic human justice and an end to prison slavery” would have worked a tad better and headed off silly comments like ours.)


Just one example of how messed up and counterproductive the current system is: we use resources training prisoners to do the dirty and dangerous work of fighting wildfires, but those same prisoners are often deemed ineligible to work as firefighters once released. The whole system is designed to prevent rehabilitation and reintegration back into society.


No one with any sense could disagree, but given the system’s deep roots it seems like a depressingly utopian wish.

Canada is almost as bad as the US in this realm, and there are a lot of people on both sides of the border who are very happy with how our respective justice systems function (not “work”). A good number of them happen to be in positions of elected power and institutional authority.

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Even adding a comma would have helped. “…an end to prison slavery, and basic human justice.” As written, it’s just wrong.

Also, I wouldn’t undercut your own point; it’s not a silly comment. Words mean things, and these are professional writers. For many people, bad grammar and usage strongly affect the credibility we’re willing to grant a column or article.

The only nitpick I have with that list is that there should be an exception to the prohibition against disenfranchisement. Specifically, the only felons who should be denied the right to vote are ones who are convicted of election tampering or campaign finance violations…


I do not think the campaign donors will allow that.

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That bit was added by a guy who’s in there for eating his grandmother.

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The striking prisoners cannot win alone. They are doing this major coordinated strike specifically to get the attention of people like you in the free world, even though everything about their environment is designed to keep them from being noticed.

We need to answer their commitment and bravery with equally brave and fierce action on the outside of prison walls. Show them that they are heard. Not just by posting on the internet (most prisoners don’t have access), but by causing scenes that get in the newspapers, the TV news, even going to the jails themselves and shouting through the fences and bars.

These folks are isolated, desperate, and taking big risks with the little bit of power they still have. Don’t let them face it alone.


American prison slavery would be bad enough if it existed under a system of unbiased, equal justice.

But it does not.


We need to acknowledge that the US (the government, that is) is a racist police state. That done, we could move forward. But. As long as we have prisons for money, that ain’t ever happening.


Want to help?


Who would want to fairly compensate workers who are incarcerated and insure they have a nest egg when they’re released and need housing during a likely lengthy search for employment?

Asking for a Private Prisons Contractor.


:musical_note: So we shake our arse and dance
As if racism just upped and vanished
But has it? No its right on course
You’re beaten so bad, you’re trained to ignore
Let me not just make sweeping statements
Gimme a second, I’ll explain it
For small amounts of drug possession there’s more black people
in jail in America than there is for rape and
armed robbery and murder all put together
You can say they’re just locking up thugs,
Imagine if they locked up every
middle class kid that had ever held drugs,
Oh that’s right, that’d be your kids!
Bigger than that what is going on with this,
Prison in America’s a private business
They get paid 50k per year per inmate by the State, just wait…
Also legally are allowed to use their prison inmates as slaves
Cheap slave labour, big corporations
They come out of jail, can’t get a job
So when we celebrate going to jail,
Add to that, that the hood that you’re livin’
Engineered social condition that breeds crime by design
Where do you think you get your nine?
You can say that they’re just black,
But I like to deal with facts
In the 1920s you would’ve found in America
Black towns,
Prospering centres of economics
and education to make you proud
But some people couldn’t bear
that the former slaves would not just lie down
So the KKK and other hate groups burnt
those towns to the ground
Killin hundreds,
If it ain’t understood,
You think you were always livin’ in the hood? :musical_note:

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