Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

U.S. Prisoners Rise Up Against Deadly Conditions

Incarcerated people and supporters on the outside are staging demonstrations around the country to protest unsanitary conditions and overcrowding that contribute to the spread of COVID-19. They are demanding PPE, cleaning supplies, and the release of vulnerable populations within prisons. It is vital as socialists and those in the labor movement that we support such actions and denounce at every turn the exploitation of imprisoned people.

Facebook Twitter Share
Image From The Guardian

On Wednesday evening, a prison uprising broke out in a Washington State penitentiary. More than 100 prisoners participated in the protest as tensions rose following an announcement by the Washington Department of Corrections that 6 inmates had tested positive for COVID-19. The demonstration was in protest of the conditions at Monroe where inmates sleep feet from each other in crowded dorm-style housing and share many common areas that are not properly cleaned. These are prime conditions for a highly contagious disease like COVID-19 to spread quickly. Protesting this risk to their lives, the prisoners were met with pepper spray and sting balls, which release light, noise, and rubber pellets. Five employees at Monroe Correctional Complex, where the protest took place, have also tested positive for COVID-19, further exacerbating the crisis within the prison.

This action comes in the wake of a slew of prison uprisings around the country in protest against the minimal and negligent responses to coronavirus outbreaks at several prison facilities. Incarcerated people are at high risks of contracting the virus due to overcrowding and poor sanitary conditions in prisons; this is compounded by a lack of access to sanitizer, soap, functioning sinks, or regular showers. Incarcerated people in Kansas and New York City’s Rikers Island, one of the nation’s most notorious and infamous jails, have been staging strikes, sit-ins, and protests to demand access to personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies. Furthermore, immigrants who are held in detention centers have begun staging hunger strikes and protests against similarly poor conditions and overcrowding. 

With deaths of incarcerated people already reported in Louisiana and Illinois, prisoners are rightfully terrified and furious over the inhumane conditions within these facilities, conditions that are becoming more and more deadly as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc across the country. Cook County Jail in Chicago, Illinois is the largest known source of COVID-19 cases in the country. 

There has been a strong decarceral movement throughout the country to pressure governments to release populations most vulnerable to contracting the virus. Car caravan protests have taken place in cities such as Chicago, San Francisco, and Newark and a #FreeThemAll movement has sprung up in New York City. 

The U.S. prison system is a racist, classist tool that is actively condemning thousands to die during this pandemic. While those who are not incarcerated are told to social distance and quarantine, this is not possible within prisons. Prisons, now more than ever, are death traps for all inmates.

Facebook Twitter Share

Julia Wallace

Julia is a contributor for Left Voice and has been a revolutionary socialist for over ten years. She served on the South Central Neighborhood Council in Los Angeles and is a member of SEIU Local 721. Julia organizes against police brutality and in defense of LGBTQ, women, and immigrants' rights. When she's not actively fighting the patriarchy, white supremacy and/or capitalism, she enjoys many things: she loves Thundercat, plays ultimate frisbee and is a founder of the team, "Black Lives Hammer."

Nina DeMeo

Nina is writer and editor for Left Voice. She lives in New York.

United States

The Fed Will Raise Interest Rates “Soon.” The Capitalists — and Democrats — Are Very Nervous

The Federal Reserve announced today that it would “soon” be raising interest rates — probably in March — in an effort to stem inflation, which has hit its highest levels in the United States since 1982. The Democrats are desperate to keep inflation from becoming an issue in the midterm elections.

Scott Cooper

January 26, 2022
Image of Biden in front of coronavirus molecules, fires, and George Floyd mural.

Let Us Turn Our Anger at Biden Into Organization

Across the country, people are taking to social media to share their frustration with the Biden government. While this airing of anger is natural, it isn’t enough. We need to organize against the Biden administration.

Ezra Brain

January 23, 2022

Michigan Activists Picket Fake Abortion Clinic

On the 49th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion across the United States, and with abortion rights under concerted attack in many states, a group of activists picketed a fake clinic in Michigan.

Jessica Prozinski

January 23, 2022

What Student Activists Walking Out Over Covid Safety Can Learn From Student Movements Around the World

There is a long international history of student strikes. The recent student movements in Chile, Brazil, and elsewhere can offer ideas and inspiration to the thousands of K-12 students organizing school walkouts to demand remote learning and other safety protocols during the current Covid wave.

Rose Lemlich

January 22, 2022

MOST RECENT

Military Coup in Burkina Faso Is a Preemptive Strike Against Continuing Social Unrest

After a night of army mutiny in the west African country of Burkina Faso, soldiers on Monday, January 24, arrested the president and several government ministers in a coup d’état.

Israel Continues Its Violent Displacement of Palestinians

2022 brings another year of Israeli violence against Palestinians. Solidarity with the movement to free Palestine from Zionist occupation must remain a priority of the Left.

Sam Carliner

January 26, 2022

No to Imperialist War: Ukrainians Gain Nothing from U.S., NATO, or Russian Troops

The situation on the Ukraine-Russia border is growing hotter and hotter, with the possibility of war becoming greater with each passing day — especially as U.S. imperialism and NATO have now decided to up the ante and mobilize their own forces. The reactionary objectives of both sides are coming into much sharper focus.

Scott Cooper

January 25, 2022

“Black Monday”: World’s Stock Markets Fall in Reaction to the Fed and Ukraine

Global stock markets took a serious tumble on Monday as fears over inflation and the conflict in Ukraine affected trading. It has been a bad year so far in capitalism’s network of casinos.