Documenting a New Era of Prisoner Resistance

An update and call for support from Perilous Chronicle

After launching our project in February, Perilous has worked to provide history and continuity to specific prison struggles, forward conversations around incarceration, do on-the-ground reporting, and continue to build the most comprehensive database of prisoner unrest to date.

For nearly a year our project has been actively updated, shared, and engaged with in a variety of exciting ways. We hope to make crucial improvements to the usability and scope of our project over the next year, but we need your support!

Check out these 5 goals we’ve met in our first year and 5 ways we hope to build the project in the future.

  1. Connecting prisoner resistance to broader social movements:

Perilous works to place prisoner resistance in conversation with larger social movements of our time. One example of this is highlighting actions taken by ICE detainees amid the growing national movement to end ICE detention. Browse our website by the Immigrant Detention Centers tag to see all the ICE related posts on our site.

  1. Creating historical and political analysis:


Perilous was cited in a recent article following the death of Willem Van Spronsen at the Northwest Detention Center in Washington State. The article contextualizes Van Spronsen’s actions and death in a long history of struggle at the NWDC, demonstrating how our data can be used for historical analysis.

By tracking prison unrest in one place we are also able to notice trends and make connections between seemingly disparate events. For instance, in early July, we noticed that there were seven simultaneous hunger strikes at jails, prisons, and immigrant detention centers around the country. We were able to draw attention to this wave of protest that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. By noticing patterns in the occurrence of prisoner resistance we hope to spur independent inquiry and analysis.

  1. Staying up to date with a wide range of events:

Our team works to stay up to date on a range of disturbances happening around the country. It is important to us to include collective actions of all kinds, from escape attempts to boycotts to uprisings. Check out our search page to browse by type of facility, type of action, state, year, etc.

  1. Doing on-the-ground live reporting:

When an uprising occurred inside the DeKalb County Jail during a protest outside the jail, Perilous was there to gather first hand testimonies from protesters who saw the event unfold. We hope to continue to expand our ability to receive information quickly and do in-depth reporting in the future.

  1. Creating specialized data sets:

With hopes of inspiring independent research and use of our archive, Perilous has publicized specific timelines to showcase our data. For example, check out our Georgia Prison Unrest timeline to learn more about the history of Georgia prisons and prisoner rebellion in the past 10 years.

Five ways we hope to grow over the next year:

  1. Redesign our site to include interactive maps, an improved search function, new graphics, featured events sections, and more.
  2. Do more in-depth, on-the-ground reporting and analysis of specific sites of imprisonment, types of imprisonment, trends in prisoner resistance, and tactics.
  3. Improve our data sourcing and analysis to more effectively track and analyze trends in prisoner resistance.
  4. Send members of the Perilous team to conferences and workshops to present, discuss, and share trends and strategies in prison struggle.
  5. Build larger, more robust communication channels with people in prison to gather information directly from those involved in prison unrest.


To build our capacity we need your support! Please consider becoming a monthly donor or making a one time donation to help us grow.

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