September 9, 2016
Prisoners across seven facilities in Texas go on strike to protest their conditions of confinement, including unpaid prison labor, toxic water, mold, and excessive heat. With multiple prisons on lockdown and restrictions on both incoming and outgoing prisoner mail, guards deny that prisoners are participating in the strike. Prisoners eventually confirm participation at seven prisons. Austin ABC helps amplify the struggle of a trans woman who went on hunger strike and won gender affirming clothing.
Outside supporters drop banners over freeways repeatedly and organize a demo at the Texas Corrections Industry showroom, which closed for the day to prevent them from entering.
Facilities where participation was confirmed include Barry Telford, Beto, Connally, Gib Lewis, Polunsky, Smith, and Torres, though outside supporters suspect there were more units participating in the strike.
Prisoners report being “bird fed” totally inadequate food proportions. Some prisoners, such as Jason Renard Walker, or Keith Malik Washington emerge as leaders and are especially targeted for long stints in solitary confinement.
Texas prisoners go on to form the first IWW prisoner’s union branch, announced in January 2018.
“At Least 24,000 Inmates Have Staged Coordinated Protests in the Past Month. Why Have You Not Heard of Their Actions?”, The Nation, October 14, 2016.
“Austin: ABC shuts down the TCI Showroom”, ItsGoingDown, September 14, 2016.
“First Incarcerated Worker Industrial Union Branch Forming”, IWW.org, January 22, 2018.