News Article
September 6, 2018

Prison Strike Updates: Week 3

Statement regarding the ongoing Nationwide Prison Strike
Issued September 6, 2018 (week three of the strike) by the Prison Strike Media Team




Amani Sawari
official outside media representative of Jailhouse Lawyers Speak
Jared Ware
Freelance journalist covering prisoner movements
@jaybeware on Twitter
Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC)
National Media Subcommittee,


@IWW_IWOC on twitter

New word of protest action within the prisons continues to reach us almost every day (see “Strike action roundup” below) as the National Prison Strike enters its third and final week.We expect to continue getting reports from inside in the coming months as lockdowns and communication restrictions ease. Speaking to a small group of journalists and activists at a press conference call on September 1st, “Eddie”, an inside Jailhouse Lawyers Speak representative, said:


“On behalf of the inside organizers of this particular prisoner-led movement, you have to understand that a lot of prisoners don't really want to communicate openly. A lot of prisoners are fearful — this is not a normal situation. I think a lot of people [..] don't understand that prisons are barbaric and they are not transparent at all.”


“Reporters and everyone else have to do their research on how people have been targeted in the past. Like right now, we know there's an all-out manhunt for Jailhouse Lawyers Speak leaders. We already know this right here, they're looking for the leaders right now, they want to take our heads off!”


Eddie referenced two leaders in the 2010 strike in Georgia prisons who were attacked savagely (Kelvin Stevenson was beaten with hammers and Terrance Dean was left partially paralysed), as well as actions by the state of California in 2013 to torment and isolate hunger strikers  He continued:


“And then you have the Free Alabama Movement, we have where they [were] targeted in 2016. Not just them, but we have brothers out in Lucasville that was targeted as leaders, and these individuals [were] placed in even more horrific confinement.”


“One thing JLS always says [now] is don't put your face out there, don't put your name out there on any circumstances, because if we're doing five or ten years on Supermax there's nothing any of you all can do. And all you all have done is assisted the system into removing us, we'd be killing our movement off. And that's what we don't want to happen. So we don't have time for publicity stunts, we just understand the nature of what we're dealing with back there.”


“As far as if this [strike] is a publicity stunt [..] I don't think that prisoners know what a publicity stunt really is. You know we just don't really have time for games, you know everything we do has been real.”


“I think that's all I can really say on that, And we not finna give them our head, we're not finna let them destroy our movement. It's not finna happen.”


A full write-up of the press conference will be released in the coming days; in the meantime, outside organizers urge the public to emphasize the original impetus for the strike:  the incident at Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina on April 15th, 2018. As Eddie said:


“One of the things [JLS has] tried to always remember when we've had our meetings in the past is always remember that [the prison strike] was called due to the tragic death that occurred down at Lee Correctional Institution in the state of South Carolina. It wasn't just the seven deaths, but also over forty of these men [were] wounded, forty of these men [were], at the end of the day, left in to die with the seven. Seven they didn't just die, they bled out. They bled and died. And we just want everybody to remember the horrific conditions that brought these deaths about.”


People reporting on the strike are reminded of the importance of discussing all of the demands of prisoners (see “List of demands” below). The demand to end prison slavery, while important, should not overshadow the nine other demands.

As the strike heads toward a close, organizers on the inside are urging supporters to pressure legislators and representatives to meet their demands at all levels of the US political system. Inside organizers appreciate the ability of protest action to bring prison issues into the national consciousness, but the demands will not be met without legislative action to change related policies.

Jailhouse Lawyers Speak hopes to build a coalition involving the organizations who have stood in solidarity during this strike to continue to push this agenda on all fronts.

List of demands


“These are the NATIONAL DEMANDS of the men and women in federal, immigration, and state prisons:


  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!


Strike action round-up


There have been many protests, disruptions and unusual occurrences in prisons across the US in the last two weeks, these incidents might be strike related, or they might simply be occurring at the same time. Outside organizers are pursuing leads and seeking confirmation. In our strike roundup we’ve been careful to only include instances of protest that were explicitly connected to the nationwide strike and its demands.  Here is the list of such activity as reported to Jailhouse Lawyers Speak or the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee prior to September 5, 2018:





Confirmations of work strikes & boycotts (via Jailhouse Lawyers Speak):

  • Charlotte Correctional Institution

  • Dade Correctional Institution

  • Holmes Correctional Institution

  • Appalachee Correctional Institution

  • Franklin Correctional Institution



Confirmations of work strikes & boycotts (via Jailhouse Lawyers Speak):

  • Georgia State Prison "Reidsville"

  • Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison in Jackson, GA



  • Wabash Valley Correctional Institution, prisoners in a segregation unit initiated a hunger strike on Monday August 27, demanding adequate food and an end to cold temperatures in the unit.



Boycott activity confirmed by Jailhouse Lawyers Speak:

  • FCI Manchester (Federal)



  • Jessup Correctional Institution - small group engaged in work stoppage reported by JLS and another independent source.




New Mexico


North Carolina



  • Toledo Correctional Institution - At least two prisoners began a hunger strike on August 21. David Easley and James Ward were moved into isolation for participating and authorities have cut off their means of communication to outside contacts.


South Carolina

Confirmations of work strikes & boycotts (via Jailhouse Lawyers Speak):

  • Broad River CI

  • Lee Correctional CI

  • McCormick CI

  • Kershaw CI

  • Lieber CI

Boycott activity confirmed by Jailhouse Lawyers Speak:

  • FCI Edgefield (Federal)



  • IWOC was forwarded a message dated 8/23 from inside administrative segregation, (solitary) of a Texas gulf prison confirming that 2 people are on hunger strike in solidarity with the national action:  "I feel great. But very hungry! And not because I don't have food but because of our 48 hours solidarity with our brothers and sisters. It's the only way we can show support from inside of Seg. Let everyone know we got their backs."

  • IWOC has confirmed that Robert Uvalle is on hunger strike in solitary at Michael Unit, Anderson County, TX in solidarity with the nationwide strike. Robert has been in solitary for most of his 25 years inside.

  • IWOC has confirmed that there is a work stoppage at the McConnell Unit in Texas.



  • Sussex II a group of has released a communique related to a hunger strike



  • Northwest Detention Center - Representatives of over 200 immigrant detainees at Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington declared a hunger strike on day one of the national prison strike. Amid fears of retaliation, 70 across three blocks participated. As of this time, seven continue to refuse food into a second week.


Nova Scotia, Canada


Notes to editors


Other sources for prisoner voices during the strike: