On the 45th anniversary of the Attica debacle, U.S. inmates staged a coordinated protest over work and living conditions, but they were ignored or silenced.”>
Gov. Snyders office called in special services/police and people were ordered into the yard to stand in the rain for hours with improperly fixed extremely tight handcuffs and guns pointed; rooms were searched, property thrown everywhere and ultimately many things were lost/broken. This began on Saturday, moved into Sunday, and by Monday approximately 350 people had been transferred out.
Account from Michigans Kinross Correctional Facility
Toward the end of August, reports began swirling in the media that on the anniversary of the Attica prison uprising of 1971Sept. 9one of the largest prisoner strikes in American history was about to occur. Most journalists ignored this as the fantasy of activists. But some in the media did take the reports seriously, even though they found it extremely difficult to get any information out of state officials that would indicate whether prisons were indeed erupting.
Anyone who knows anything about the history of prison rebellions knows that these public institutions are fully closed to the public and, therefore, to learn anything about what is happening behind the walls or in the cages inside of those walls is almost impossible.
In 1971, when nearly 1300 men erupted in one of the most famous of all American prison proteststhat which took place at the Attica State Correctional Facility when those men came together to protest their inhumane living conditions and forced laborthe public was also in the dark until those men insisted on bringing the media in. And then, in the wake of the states bloody retaking of that prison, the nation only came to know of the horrors happening inside because citizens kept demanding access and prisoners kept trying to get their stories told. And the stories they told were horrific indeedmassive reprisals, wounded men with no medical care, and outright torture. It would take almost four decades for the survivors of this terrible retaking to force the state to release the documents that fully corroborated prisoner claims of abusive retribution and hostage claims that the state had mistreated them as well.
Public prisons in the U.S. are even more closed to the public today than they were back in 1971. And they are even more inhumane. Today prisoners are again forced to labor for no, or very little, pay, even though they must have money to acquire their basic needs in prison. Today prisoners are placed in solitary confinement more frequently and for longer time than they ever have been, even though medical professionals the world over are in complete accord that this is a form of torture. Today prisons are much more overcrowded than they were as well, even though this makes things less safe for corrections officers and prisoners alike. Today prisoners are still being fed spoiled and maggot-ridden food, even though they are human beings.
And so, prisoners today are indeed erupting in prisons across the nation and many did begin their protests on the anniversary of the Attica uprising of 1971. Prisoners in scores of prisons in the U.S.from Alabama to Florida to California to Ohio to Michiganhave initiated protests. And while state officials have tried to deny that these uprisings have happened, prisoners and corrections officers alike have made clear that the officials havent been telling the truth.
Stories coming from prisoners and corrections officers in Michigans Kinross Correctional Facility, for example, make clear not only that this nation is experiencing prison protests, but more important, that we should all be paying close attention to what exactly is happening right now behind bars.