Inmates from at least 17 prisons have committed to participating in coordinated actions now through September 9.
Inmates are calling for an end to modern-day slave labor as perpetuated through the prison industry as well as higher standards of living and expanded access to resources.
Their actions will culminate on the 47th anniversary of the Attica Prison uprising during which 1,000 inmates at the Attica Correctional Facility took 42 staff members hostage.
The prisoners in Attica made very similar demands to those being made today: better living conditions and political rights.
While the focus remains largely the same, today’s inmates are putting greater emphasis on the immorality of the prison labor complex and its role in perpetuating the disproportionate imprisonment of people of color.
The strike has its roots in the violent uprising that occurred at Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina this past April.
Not a single guard was injured.
Inmates said that the violence was permitted to carry on unchecked for hours and that bodies were literally stacked atop one another.
It was the nation’s deadliest prison riot in over 25 years.
Following the riot, the prisoners’ rights group Jailhouse Lawyers Speak published a list of 10 demands including better sentencing reform, the right to vote, access to rehabilitation programs, and the end of prison labor.