Southern Maine DSA Endorses the National Prison Strike
On August 21, a National Prison Strike began in 17 states, organized by the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated. This strike was called in response to a riot in a Bishopville, South Carolina prison, in which prison employees did nothing to quell the violence or tend to the injured. But this nationwide strike is about more than a single egregious act of violence against prisoners.
On Monday, August 20th, the Southern Maine Democratic Socialists of America voted to formally endorse this strike, as well as the 10 demands of those who organized it:
- Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and prison policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women.
- An immediate end to prison slavery. All persons imprisoned in any place of detention under United States jurisdiction must be paid the prevailing wage in their state or territory for their labor.
- The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.
- The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole. No human shall be sentenced to Death by Incarceration or serve any sentence without the possibility of parole.
- An immediate end to the racial overcharging, over-sentencing, and parole denials of Black and brown humans. Black humans shall no longer be denied parole because the victim of the crime was white, which is a particular problem in southern states.
- An immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws targeting Black and brown humans.
- No imprisoned human shall be denied access to rehabilitation programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.
- State prisons must be funded specifically to offer more rehabilitation services.
- Pell grants must be reinstated in all US states and territories.
- The voting rights of all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, and so-called “ex-felons” must be counted. Representation is demanded. All voices count!
Our support for restoring the rights of prisoners and reasserting their humanity goes beyond this strike as well. The prison industrial complex is an oppressive institution that destroys lives, families, and communities for profit while actively keeping the legacy of slavery alive. This strike is one important step on the road to dismantling this unjust system, and it has our full endorsement.