Statement from the Osborne Association on the Nationwide Prison Strike

09 September 2018

Today, on the anniversary of the 1971 Attica prison uprising, people in prison across 17 states end a three-week prison strike. At the start, organizers released a list of 10 demands that include immediately improving working and living conditions in prison, rescinding the Prison Litigation Reform Act (a cynical "reform" that severely restricts the rights of incarcerated people to mount legal challenges), restoring voting rights to all confined citizens, ending death by incarceration, and providing rehabilitation services for all people in prison, including those convicted of violent crimes. 

The Osborne Association stands with the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, affiliated organizations, and more than 2.2 million people incarcerated in America. While working to dismantle the system that sends so many to jail and prison, we must continue to press for radical changes in conditions for all people who live in, work in, and visit our nation's prisons and jails. 

More than 50 years before the Attica rebellion, Osborne's founder served as a prison warden who attempted to create systems of "inmate self-governance," and shortly after Attica, men incarcerated at Green Haven took steps to organize a Prisoners Labor Union, demanding fair pay and conditions for the work they do. Today, people in prison in California are paid a dollar an hour to fight the fires. And in many states, the "profit" generated by the prison system and its occupants flows into the hands of private companies that operate prisons or sell them food and technology. 

Nearly 50 years after the men at Attica rose up to say "We are men! We are not beasts and we do not intend to be beaten or driven as such," it is long past time to address our criminal legal system's legacy of racism and discrimination and to create a system that recognizes fundamental human dignity or honors all people's capacity to change.

You can find out more about the strike, including steps you can continue to take to support the rights of incarcerated people, at https://incarceratedworkers.org/campaigns/prison-strike-2018