- Ending prison slavery The 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution didn’t abolish slavery completely – it disallows slavery and involuntary servitude, “except as a punishment for crime.”
- Prisoners make products in your daily life From Starbucks coffee, according to Atlanta Black Star, to Victoria’s Secret bras to AT&T call centers, according to U.S. Uncut, prisoners make products in your home. Salon reported in 2015 on industries that profit from mass incarceration.
- Demand for minimum wage Most prison workers are paid pennies an hour, according to Foundation for Economic Education, or are not paid at all. If prisoners were paid minimum wage, it would make prisons less profitable, according to the Government Accountability Office. Prisoners could use earned income to make phone calls home, pay restitution to victims, pay child support, or save up for deposits and rent when they get out.
- Improved living conditions Prisoners suffer from toxic mold, rats and roaches in the kitchen, maggots in food, lack of air-conditioning, arsenic in the water and guard brutality, inadequate medical care and many are in long-term solitary confinement, which the United Nations calls torture.
- Risk of retaliation Prisoners rightly fear retaliation for their participation in the strikes. Outside support is crucial to ensure their efforts are not in vain.
Azzurra Crispino, is the Media Co-Chair for the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee. She co-founded Prison Abolition Prisoner Solidarity (PAPS) and is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Austin Community College.