Locals join nationwide prison strike

In support of a nationwide prison strike, local residents protested outside the Forsyth County Detention Center on Saturday, Aug. 25.

Locals join nationwide prison strike
August 30
09:19 2018

Dozens of locals protested outside the Forsyth County Detention Center last Saturday in support of a nationwide prison strike to call attention to below par facilities, harsh sentences and other issues with the U.S. Prison System.

The nationwide strike, which began on Aug. 21, and ends on Sept. 9, was started by Jailhouse Lawyers Speak (JLS), a group of people currently incarcerated providing legal training for other inmates, in response to the riot at Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, S.C.

Several reports state that during the incident earlier this year, prison guards and EMTs made no attempt to break up the altercation until most of the damage had already been done. In the end, seven inmates lost their lives and dozens of injuries were reported.

In support of the strike, JLS is encouraging inmates across the country to refuse to work, hold sit-ins and even hunger strikes. According to a list of demands published on the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee website, JLS is seeking the following:

1. Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and prison policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women.

2. 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.

3. The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.

4. The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole.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.

5. 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.

6. An immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws targeting Black and brown humans.

7. No imprisoned human shall be denied access to rehabilitation programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.

8. State prisons must be funded specifically to offer more rehabilitation services.

9. Pell grants must be reinstated in all US states and territories.

10. 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.

JLS has also called on those on the outside to join the strike by organizing peaceful protest outside prisons across the country, writing letters to prisons facing retaliation, and donating to the strike fund.

While carrying a sign that listed the prison strike demands, local activist Destiny Blackwell, who organized the local protest, said when it comes to poor management, the Forsyth County Detention Center has some of the same issues as Lee Correctional Institution.

“Here we have prisoners dying from poor conditions and even worse management, so that is connected, but this is nationwide and we are just supportive,” said Blackwell. “The next step from here; we’re going to join demonstrations where we know prisoners are protesting inside and we are having forums about mass incarceration on Winston-Salem State’s campus, so be on the look out for that.”

For more information on the nationwide prison strike, visit

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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