Louisiana State Penitentiary, West Feliciana, Louisiana
May 8, 2018

After a prisoner, Roy Walker, is injured during field labor after telling guards he is unable to work because of a bad back, fifty prisoners refuse to report for work in protest. That night, prisoners release a list of demands. Despite the prisoners’ stated intentions that the work stoppage continue, prisoners return to work the following day.

The Department of Corrections releases a press release with a different version of the events. According to the DOC,

“‘work continued [Wednesday] morning as usual’ after the brief Tuesday fight between the two inmates and two guards. Pastorick noted that the initial altercation started when the two inmates became ‘disruptive and broke from the line’ before getting ‘combative’ with the guards. He confirmed that the 27 inmates who peacefully stood back yesterday returned to work later in the afternoon.”

However, prisoners who spoke with The Appeal told a different story:

“Alonzo, a prisoner who took part in the strike, contends that version is inaccurate, and instead it began when Walker told the guards that he couldn’t work because he had a bad back. Soon after, he slipped and hurt himself, Alonzo said. In solidarity, when the warden called roll call for the work shift, roughly 50 people refused to go out, Alonzo estimated, nearly double what DOC said. Ron said that some workers have been refusing to work since.”

From Decarcerate Louisiana, via It’s Going Down:

Tuesday May 8, 2018 Prisoners throughout the state of Louisiana began a Cease w Peace Work Stoppage to protest the inhumane conditions, ill treatment & lack of rehabilitative services, identified in the state of Louisiana’s Department of Corrections regulations.

The circumstances and conditions that have been allowed to fester in the oppressive environment, do not allow for rehabilitation, but make sinking further into oppression

“We want to prove that we can change, and that we can become productive members of society.”

There are circumstances that occur in poverty-stricken areas that do not create a conducive environment for learning and developing opportunities ….

The blight that is in many neighborhoods, create these criminal environments, all too often out of necessity.

The ONLY people who are being held accountable are the victims, and the so called “criminals”. Where is the government responsibility for creating this environment?

We demand immediate reparative & restorative justice!

These are our DEMANDS:

1. We believe that all living human beings are created equal and have inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, regardless of their social status.

2. We believe in human rights and human dignity and that government has a fundamental obligation to protect all its citizens from slavery and human degradation.

3. We are demanding a national conversation inquiring how state prison farms across the country came to hold hundreds of thousands of people of African descent against their will.

4. We are urging that local, state, and federal governments who currently hold hundreds of thousands of African Americans on prison farms across the country be investigated for antebellum criminality, involuntary servitude and slavery.

5. We are demanding an end to the systematic oppression and exploitation of prisoners and their outside family and supporters for profits.

6. We are demanding class rooms for our education and rehabilitation, not slavery.

Citations:

“Angola Inmates Halt Farmwork, Demand ‘Slavery’ Investigation of U.S. Prisons,” Newsweek, May 19, 2018.

“Central Ohio IWOC”, Twitter, May 8, 2018.

Angola inmates refuse to go to work after two offenders attack prison guards, authorities say”, The Advocate, May 8, 2018.

Strike Breaks Out at Angola Prison As Momentum Builds for National Prison Strike”, It’s Going Down, May 10, 2018.

Louisiana Prisoners Demand an End to ‘Modern-day Slavery’“, The Appeal, June 18, 2018.

Background:

Angola Prisoner Says He Was Punished For Organizing Against ‘Slavery’“, The Appeal, August 20, 2018.

C-Murder Launches Hunger Strike In Protest Of Angola Prison’s ‘Inhumane’ Conditions”, Hip Hop DX, February 1, 2018.