Rush City Correctional Facility, Rush City, Minnesota
November 30 and December 3, 2018
115 prisoners who work at the prison’s anagram balloon factory went on strike in response to delays in delivery of canteen items and abuse by guards. Prisoners state that the administration recently changed the amount of time it takes for canteen items to be delivered from one week to two weeks.
“They just keep taking things away – privileges, flag time, then they overcrowd the prison and treat us like animals,” said F, a prisoner at Rush City. J, also in Rush City, said their collective action was “a message of unity between inmates, and across all the races.”
“Abuse by guards with no recourse for prisoners has been an ongoing problem at Rush City, strikers say. On Thursday, inmate Antonio Williams was sent to solitary confinement for speaking to new prisoners about the importance of knowing their rights in the face of guard abuse.
Guards have alleged an increase in assaults over the past year, but many prisoners claim the increases are manufactured. They see assaults as caused by ongoing abuse from guards without accountability, combined with steadily deteriorating, overcrowded conditions.”
Rush City Warden Jim Titus and an officer from the Office of Special Investigations met with the strikers over the weekend and again on Monday in an attempt to negotiate a resolution to the strike. The negotiations ended with the administration committing to making a final decision about the canteen policy by December 12.
“Minnesota Department of Corrections in talks with Rush City prisoners after work strike“, Star Tribune, December 5, 2018.
“Striking Prisoners in Negotiations with Minnesota Department of Corrections Over Conditions, Guard Abuse“, Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, December 5, 2018.