January 15, 2018
Prisoners across the Florida prison system organized a work stoppage beginning on Martin Luther King Jr. day. The strikers had three primary demands:
- Payment for our labor, rather than the current slave arrangement
- An end to outrageous canteen prices
- Reintroduction of parole incentives to lifers and those with Buck Rogers dates
In addition to the three primary demands, they were also fighting to:
- Stop the overcrowding and acts of brutality committed by officers throughout FDOC which have resulted in the highest death rates in prison history.
- Expose the environmental conditions we face, including extreme temperatures, mold, contaminated water, and being placed next to toxic sites such as landfills, military bases and phosphate mines (including a proposed mine which would surround the Reception and Medical Center prison in Lake Butler).
- Honor the moratorium on state executions, as a court-ordered the state to do, without the legal loophole now being used to kill prisoners on death row.
- Restore voting rights as a basic human right to all, not a privilege, regardless of criminal convictions.
The multiple-week long protest included boycotts of commissary in addition to more formal work stoppages. Over the course of the strike various participants faced torture and other extreme retaliation. On multiple occasions outside supporters organized call-ins to end these instances of retaliation.
Additionally, in the lead-up to the beginning of the strike, the Florida Department of Corrections instituted many pre-emptive repressive measures. These included throwing dozens of suspected organizers in solitary confinement as well as cancelling visitation hours on MLK Day for Everglades Correctional Institution and Lake Butler Reception and Medical Center.
“Are Florida prisons suppressing an inmate strike or just lying about it?“, The Washington Post, January 24, 2018.
“Florida Officials Deny Operation Push is Ongoing, Even as They Retaliate Against Prisoners“, Shadowproof, January 25, 2018.
“Florida Prison-Strike Organizer Charged With ‘Inciting Riot,’ Says He Was ‘Tortured’“, Miami New Times, January 26, 2018.
“Operation Push Timeline“, Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, February 6, 2018.
“Prisoners Across Florida Went on Strike. Instead of Fair Wages, They Got Solitary.” In These Times, March 19, 2018.
“Florida prisoners to protest — again. This time, they’re refusing to work.“, The Miami Herald, December 28, 2017.
“Movement Against Prison Slavery Ramps Up With Operation Push in Florida“, Shadowproof, January 11, 2018.
“Florida prisoners plan Martin Luther King Day strike over ‘slavery’“, The Guardian, January 15, 2018.