Various Facilities in the U.S and Canada
August 21 – September 9, 2018 (exact dates vary based on location)

Prisoners with Jailhouse Lawyers Speak and other organizations issued 10 national demands with a call to action for work stoppages, sit-down strikes, hunger strikes and boycotts of the commissary. Organizers stated that the strike was organized in response to the riot at Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina that resulted in the violent deaths of seven prisoners.

The press release for the strike states:

“Men and women incarcerated in prisons across the nation declare a nationwide strike in response to the riot at Lee Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison in South Carolina. Seven comrades lost their lives during a senseless uprising that could have been avoided had the prison now been so overcrowded from the greed wrought by mass incarceration, and lack of respect for human life that is embedded in our nation’s penal ideology. These men and women are demanding human living conditions, access to rehabilitation, sentencing reform and the end of modern day slavery.”

Prisoners in seventeen states committed to the action, and outside support included over 300 organizations and dozens of solidarity rallies and events.

One week into the strike the outside media team reported protest activity in 10 US states and one Canadian province, asserting that the actual scale of the strike is likely much larger.

Prison authorities nearly uniformly claimed that nothing was unusual in their facilities and that lockdowns were routine and unrelated to protests. According to the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), prisoners in 12 states reported abuses in lead-up to, and aftermath of, the strike. The NLG compiled affidavits from prisoners reporting abuses and released a digest of their findings.

As of now, we have confirmed strike activity in California, Virginia, Indiana, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Washington, Georgia, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nova Scotia, Canada.

Please note that we are continuing to document and confirm additional activity associated with the strike. Digests of strike activity are available at It’s Going Down and Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee.

 

Citations:

Jailhouse Lawyers Speak #August21 @JailLawSpeak. April 24, 2018. “PRESS RELEASE: NATIONAL PRISON STRIKE AUGUST 21-SEPTEMBER 9TH, 2018”. [Tweet]

“Groups and Organizations in Solidarity“, Sawari Mi, no date.

#PrisonStrike“, ItsGoingDown.org, no date.

“Interview: South Carolina Prisoners Challenge Narrative Around Violence at Lee Correctional Institution“, Shadowproof, May 3, 2018.

“Strike Statement to the Press“, IncarceratedWorkers.org, August 28, 2018.

An Inside Account of the National Prisoners’ Strike“, The New Yorker, September 6, 2018.

“September 11 Press Update”, IncarceratedWorkers.org, September 11, 2018.

The national prison strike is over. Now is the time prisoners are most in danger“, The Conversation, September 12, 2018.

The Legitimacy of the System Is Crumbling”, Heather Ann Thompson interview, Jacobin, September 16, 2018.

DE-NJ NLG Prisoners’ Legal Advocacy Network (PLAN) Mounts Legal Responses to Widespread Reports of Prisoner Abuses in the Aftermath of the 2018 National Prison Strike“, National Lawyers Guild, September 20, 2018.