Health Professionals & Trainees in Solidarity with the National Prison Strike
On the anniversary of the 1971 Attica Prison Rebellion and the 2016 National Strike, Jailhouse Lawyers Speak has called for a 2018 National Prison Strike. Jailhouse Lawyers Speak is a national collective of incarcerated people who fight for human rights by providing other incarcerated people with access to legal education, resources, and assistance. Now endorsed by the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), this national call to action has been supported by many advocacy and abolitionist groups around the country. Incarcerated peoples in 17+ states will be resisting through work strikes, sit-ins, spending boycotts, and hunger strikes. Demands are as follows:
1.Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and prison policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women.
2. An immediate end to prison slavery. All persons imprisoned in any place of detention under United States jurisdiction must be paid the prevailing wage in their state or territory for their labor.
3. The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.
4. The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole. No human shall be sentenced to Death by Incarceration or serve any sentence without the possibility of parole.
5. An immediate end to the racial overcharging, over-sentencing, and parole denials of Black and brown humans. Black humans shall no longer be denied parole because the victim of the crime was white, which is a particular problem in southern states.
6. An immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws targeting Black and brown humans.
7. No imprisoned human shall be denied access to rehabilitation programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.
8. State prisons must be funded specifically to offer more rehabilitation services.
9. Pell grants must be reinstated in all US states and territories.
10. The voting rights of all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, and so-called “ex-felons” must be counted. Representation is demanded. All voices count.
We, the undersigned, express our support for the incarcerated peoples participating in the National Prison Strike from August 21 to September 9. America's criminal punishment system is a constant, dehumanizing threat to public health, and we support the imprisoned people who demand an end to the death penalty, unfair wages, unsafe conditions, racist policing and sentencing practices. All people have a right to therapeutic rehabilitation programs and to express their voice, including through voting and filing grievances. Throughout the history of prison strikes, lack of quality medical care is a constant theme. The Attica Prison Rebellion, which this strike commemorates, was in part a response to the poor health conditions and medical experimentation on incarcerated people. At Attica, there were compassionate physicians who demanded access to prisoners to assess their injuries following the bloody operation to retake the facility. As caregivers and public health advocates, we want to honor this legacy by supporting those striking almost fifty years later in the 2018 National Prison Strike.
In the medical community, the strike is endorsed by White Coats 4 Black Lives. More information on the strike and its supporters is available here:
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