Inmates in prisons across the country have been striking since September 9th, the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison riots. Prisoners are utilizing both labor strikes and hunger strikes to protest mass incarceration and prison labor conditions. One organization heavily involved in the strike, the Free Alabama Movement, issued a press release highlighting the use of underpaid or unpaid prison labor by governments and corporations. As the strike has continued, inmates in multiple states have reported retaliation and harsh treatment in response to their actions, including solitary confinement of organizers and the use of tear gas and riot gear.
In Massachusetts, inmates at Souza-Baranowski correctional center staged a peaceful protest on September 8th in response to new proposed regulations regarding visitation and communication. One such regulation would limit the number of visitors on each inmate’s pre-approved visitor list to five at a time. Advocates argue that these regulations interfere with prisoners’ ability to stay connected to their family and community support systems.