GEORGIA, USA – Georgia State prisoners have been on strike since Thursday at the following state prisons: Baldwin, Hancock, Hays, Macon, Smith and Telfair, among others. Prisoners are refusing to leave their cells and work under slavery conditions. Prisoners have coordinated their efforts through a loose network of cellphones (which are banned for prisoners). They’re list of demands (below) is directed at the Georgia Department of Corrections (DOC).
Update: The prisoners ended the strike after 6 days, but will continue fighting awful conditions. More here.
- 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.
- NY Times (Dec. 12) article
- Georgia State Green Party published original press release, (which originally noted the strike to last only one day.)
- Black Agenda Report (Dec. 11) article