As many as 20,000 US prisoners are going into their second week on strike against forced labor and inhumane prison conditions, though the US prison system has locked down the centers of the strike, denied all conduits for information, and put the leadership into solitary confinement.
The strike commemorates the anniversary of the Attica Prison Uprising, and though it's hard to know exactly what's going on inside — thanks to the control exerted by America's jailers — the news that's trickled out is both inspiring and worrying.
Retaliation against strikers is also hard to track, but outside advocates said that several leaders were put in isolation and denied communication privileges, making it even harder for information to come out.
In one instance, at the Ohio State Penitentiary, Siddique Hasan, a well-known prison activist sentenced to death for his role in a 1993 prison uprising, was accused of plotting to "blow up buildings" on September 9. Hasan, an organizer with the Free Ohio Movement, was confined to isolation and denied access to the phone for nearly a month before the strike — a deliberate effort to prevent him from communicating with the outside about it, supporters said.
"What people have to realize is that these men and women inside prison — they expected to be retaliated against, but they sacrificed," said Pastor Kenneth Glasgow, a former prisoner and a supporter of the Free Alabama Movement, the prisoner-led group that first called for the nationwide strike.
"People on the outside are not understanding they are being bamboozled," he added, expressing disappointment that the strike hadn't garnered more attention. "A lot of people are not realizing the value in what's going on, they don't realize that it's slavery, that slavery still exists."
THE LARGEST PRISON STRIKE IN U.S. HISTORY ENTERS ITS SECOND WEEK
[Alice Speri/The Intercept]
(Image: It's Going Down)