Why should you care whether some prisoners in GA are pushing for human rights? Well here’s a few reasons from the Wikipedia:
The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. The U.S. incarceration rate on December 31, 2008 was 754 inmates per 100,000 U.S. residents, or 0.75%. The USA also has the highest total documented prison and jail population in the world.
Although African-Americans account for only 12 percent of the U.S. population, an estimated 38.9 percent of all prisoners in the United States are black (as of 2005 DOJ data). Blacks were nearly 5 times more likely than whites, nearly 3 times more likely than Hispanics to have been in jail in 2005. Census data for 2000, which included a count of the number and race of all individuals incarcerated in the United States, revealed a dramatic racial disproportion of the incarcerated population in each state: the proportion of blacks in prison populations exceeded the proportion among state residents in every single state. In twenty states, the percent of blacks incarcerated was at least five times greater than their share of resident population.
Just like there’s a lot of money to be made in waging war, there are plenty of folks sadly who have an interest in maintaining the status quo of jailing black folks here in the United States despite the cost to black communities. Black Agenda Report has been doing an excellent job covering the development of this extremely interesting and important story in GA which the mainstream media is strangely ignoring just like they’ve mostly ignored the systematic arrest & incarceration of American black men in general. Here’s a slice but you should go on over to BAR to get the full 411:
The historic strike of Georgia prisoners, demanding wages for their labor, educational opportunities, adequate health care and nutrition, and better conditions is entering a new phase. Strikers remain firm in their demands for full human rights, though after several days many have emerged from their cells, if only to take hot showers and hot food. Many of these, however, are still refusing their involuntary and unpaid work assignments.
A group that includes relatives, friends and a broad range of supporters of the prisoners on the outside has emerged. They are seeking to sit down with Georgia correctional officials this week to discuss how some of the just demands of inmates can begin to be implemented. Initially, Georgia-based representatives of this coalition supporting the prisoner demands included the Georgia NAACP, the Nation of Islam, the National Association for Radical Prison Reform, the Green Party of Georgia, and the Ordinary Peoples Society among others. Civil rights attorneys, ministers, community organizations and other prisoner advocates are also joining the group which calls itself the Concerned Coalition to Protect Prisoner Rights.
Prisoners have stood up for themselves, and the communities they came from are lining up to support them. Today, at a groundbreaking for a private prison 300 miles southeast of Atlanta in Millen GA, residents of that local community opposed to the private prison are greeting the governor and corrections brass with a protest. They will be joined by dozens more coming in from Atlanta who will respectfully urge state authorities to talk to the prisoners. We understand that one person there has been arrested. Black Agenda Report will have photos and footage of that event on Thursday.
The braod-based Concerned Coalition to Protect Prisoners Rights fully supports the heroic stand of Georgia’s prisoners. “This isn’t Attica,” one representative of the coalition explained. “No violent acts have been committed by any of the inmates involved. We hope state corrections officials will be as peaceful and respectful as the prisoners have been, and start a good faith dialog about quickly addressing their concerns.”
Right now, the ball is in the hands of state corrections officials, and reports are that in some of the affected prisons, authorities are fumbling that ball, engaging
“They transferred some of the high Muslims here to max already,” one prisoner told Black Agenda Report this morning. “They want to break up the unity we have here. We have the Crips and the Bloods, we have the Muslims, we have the head Mexicans, and we have the Aryans all with a peaceful understanding, all on common ground. We all want to be paid for our work, and we all want education in here. There’s people in here who can’t even read…
“They’re trying to provoke people to violence in here, but we’re not letting that happen. We just want our human rights.”
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