Why are US prisoners going on strike? | The Stream

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Inmates in prisons across the United States are preparing to take part in a national protest aimed at bringing urgent reform to a system they say abuses and exploits them.

The National Prisoners Strike kicks off on August 21 and is expected to run for 20 days. The strike is being led by Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, an incarcerated group of prisoner rights advocates, and is supported by several other pro-reform groups. The action was first called in April, following a riot at a state prison facility in South Carolina in which seven inmates died.

Among the demands of protesters are โ€œimmediateโ€ improvements to prison conditions, that fair wages be paid to inmates for their labour, the possibility of parole for all prisoners, and the restoration of voting rights to felons. Those taking part in the strike will hold labour stoppages, sit-ins, hunger strikes and spending boycotts.

Organisers of the forthcoming national strike say it will solidify and refine a spirit of protest that was shown in a national strike two years ago. In that protest, more than 24,000 prisoners in a dozen states took part. But in the era of the Trump administration, what will be different this time? Join the conversation at 19:30 GMT to find out.

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