In Deep Solidarity with the National Prison Strike
The Carolina Youth Action Project stands in deep solidarity with the National Prison Strike. Happening between August 21st and September 9th of this year, the nationwide strike is a response to the riot at the Lee Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison in Bishopville, South Carolina. During that April 15th uprising, twenty-two people were injured and seven were killed. We firmly believe this tragedy, the United States’ deadliest prison uprising in a quarter century, would have been prevented had the demands below been honored long ago.
We believe in a world without prisons and the police; we know these institutions have a devastating impact on and threaten the safety of our communities. Our work aims to critique, resist, and eliminate the carceral state, both structurally and ideologically. We push back against a culture of disposability and the systems that normalize state violence in order to build a world where all of us are free and have what we need. As an organization committed to strengthening and sustaining radical infrastructure in the South, and as fellow abolitionists in South Carolina, we honor the courage and commitment of incarcerated folks leading this important action.
We support and will work to amplify each of the national demands created by folks behind bars in federal, immigration, and state prisons:
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The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.
The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole.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!
We invite our comrades and community members to share our solidarity statement and the demands of the national prison strike. Our organization will be hosting a letter writing event to support folks behind bars both in South Carolina and across the region. We’ll be meeting Tuesday, September 4th from 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM; please contact us if you’d like to join.