“Think about being in a monkey cage. The zookeepers come around every 3 to 4 hours. They might give them something to eat, they might decide to clean up poop. Well that’s prison. I just described the perfect view of what prison is like.” Stuart Anderson explained in a radio interview on Sputnik News, recounting his own experience as a former inmate.
On Sep. 9, a national prison strike, what could be the largest prison strike in the U.S. to date took place, involving nearly 1000 inmates on the anniversary of the 1971 strike in Attica, NY.
IPS’ Netfa Freeman met with prison reform advocates Anderson and Kendrick Jackson to discuss the recent strike, which protested many of the same deplorable prison conditions that strikers were resisting in 1971.
“When you have the Department of Justice and a Bureau of Prison who are incapable, or unwilling to do something about the gross violations of human rights inside the prisons, and the country at large when it comes to extrajudicial killings, then it puts our struggle on the next level. “ Freeman said.
Freeman explained that this demonstration illustrates one of the goals of the Movement of Black Lives — to ultimately dismantle mass incarceration that disproportionately impacts African Americans.
Jackson added that a correlation in the movement must exist between those on the outside and those on the inside, to better illustrate prison conditions.
“You’re ‘othered’ when you’re put in a position where no one can see you, no one can hear you…When that happens, it’s hard to get your voice out there,”Jackson said.
Freeman and Jackson wrap up the conversation with suggestions for how to end mass incarceration and a call for greater rehabilitation efforts for inmates while imprisoned, as well as ex-offenders when they are released.