Individuals who are incarcerated across the country have announced their intention to participate in a non-violent work stoppage this Friday, September 9th, to protest inhumane living conditions and demand an end to coerced labor that is common to United States prisons, a practice allowed by the U.S. Constitution after the 13th Amendment ended non-penal slavery.
Grassroots Leadership supports individuals who are incarcerated as they exercise their human rights to protest what are the results of institutionalized oppression intended to produce profit from prison labor. We believe the right to be recognized as human beings is fundamental and that a conviction in a court of law does not alter, modify, nor remove that right.
We ask our supporters to raise their voices and notify prison officials to recognize the right of incarcerated individuals to assert their humanity and for prison officials to not retaliate against individuals whose non-violent protests demand an end to prison slavery.
Texas locks up more people in its prisons than any other state and is one of only three states that does not pay its incarcerated workers any wages. Conditions in Texas prisons range from arsenic-tainted drinking water at the Pack Unit in Navasota to system-wide deadly heat, which has been blamed for at least 14 deaths since 2007 of individuals incarcerated in TDCJ. Texas prisons also have the highest rates of sexual assaults of any prison system in the U.S.
Please write, call, or fax the members of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice and express your support.
Sample script: I am calling to support the men and women incarcerated in Texas prisons who are striking for and making the following demands:
- That TDCJ administrators ensure humane living and working conditions;
- That the TDCJ no longer administer the $100 medical copay, and that the Texas Legislature repeal that law;
- That anyone exercising their right to file a habeas corpus brief be appointed a qualified attorney;
- That every individual incarcerated in TDCJ be eligible to receive reasonable good time and work time;
- And that the Texas Legislature form and appoint a committee with true oversight powers.
- We also demand that inmates at the Pack Unit have access to clean water that is not contaminated with arsenic, and that anyone participating in this work stoppage not suffer retaliation by TDCJ administrators or correctional officers, either physically or through disciplinary action.
Opportunities in Austin, TX to support striking prisoners include:
Join the fight to end slavery at the Sept 9th Prison Strike Solidarity Speak Out and TCI Picket! from noon - 3:00 pm located at 8801 South 1st Street, Suite 100, Austin, TX 78748.
Attend the Support Prisoner Resistance Panel on September 11, 2016 at Treasure City Thrift located at 2142 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702.