"Demanding Justice in the Prison System" with Amani Sawari
This episode is a follow up to the previous Fractal Friends episode: “Prison Strike and ‘Something Else'“
Amani Sawari is the representative of Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, a group of imprisoned folk that organized a Nationwide Prison Strike across the United States from August 21 - September 9, 2018.
This short but powerful interview with Amani Sawari provides us an update about Prison Strike. This episode touches deeply on the inhumane conditions that imprisoned humans live in every day, and it explores the culture of dehumanization that allows a country that values freedom and democracy to continue treating people as animals and slaves.
Visit Amani Sawari's website at www.sawarimi.org for ongoing information, resources and details about the prison strike.
The Daily Kos has a petition to demand the end of legalized prison slavery. Sign the petition here.
Want to send letters to prisoners who have been retaliated against for their involvement with the strike? Here is a list of prisoners being retaliated against, organized by the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee.
For another podcast with a similar conversation here is the episode of WNYC's Midday with Baz Dreisinger: “Prison Strike in Context”
Slavery is not over yet. It is infused into the criminal-justice system. Here’s the text of the 13th amendment of the U.S. Constitution to confirm that:
“Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
What does Prison Slavery look like?
- First, criminalize freed slaves. These were called Black Codes
- Then, Henry Anslinger’s works with Nixon to make a drug war that explicitly targets people of color
- Then, make prisoners work for unjust wages
- Finally, just so people cannot escape back into freedom, you make people freed from prison work to pay off the cost of their own incarceration
Any capitalist knows the power of the profit motive to help people find creative ways to make more money. What happens when there is a profit incentive for people to be caught and imprisoned for crimes?
You get the biggest prison system in the world where one out of every 100 Americans is serving time behind bars.
This Huffington Post article breaks it down well. “Jailing Americans for Profit: The Rise of the Prison Industrial Complex”
This guy breaks it all down well: