News, Views, & Photography

Critical Resistance and IWW support prisoner resistance at Holman, call for action

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19 March 2016

Tear down cages

by Critical Resistance

Our attention has been turned this week to Holman Prison in Alabama where rolling uprisings inside have led to prisoners taking control of certain areas of the prison. Prisoners have since released a set of demands including increased educational programs for prisoners, monetary damages for physical and mental abuse, and revoking the State’s 446 laws that – similar to Three Strikes laws – harden sentences for subsequent convictions……

This uprising is part of a long history of resistance to imprisonment from people inside, including the 1971 Attica Rebellion and the 2011-2013 California and Guantanamo Bay prisoner hunger strikes. Just as the abolition of the prison industrial complex (PIC) follows in the tradition of the abolition of slavery, these acts of resistance are part of a history that includes Nat Turner’s Rebellion in 1831 and other resistance to slavery like work slowdowns, tool breaking, covert meetings and escapes to free zones.

Abolitionists of the PIC do not believe that this system can be fixed through reform but seek to rid society of it entirely. As one of the prisoners at Holman stated, “We’re tired of this … There’s only one way to deal with it: Tear the prison down.”

List of Demands from Men Incarcerated at Holman Prison in Alabama

Two uprisings occurred at Holman prison in Alabama over the past four days. One, starting on Friday night involved fires being set after the Warden was stabbed. The second on Monday morning, involved 70–100 men barricading themselves inside their dormitory. The men at Holman Prison have released a set of demands. Sent to me via video, the six demands are listed below:

1. We inmates, at Holman Prison, ask for immediate federal assistance.

2. We ask that the Alabama government release all inmates who have spent excessive time in Holman Prison — due to the conditions of the prison and the overcrowding of these prisons in Alabama.

3. We ask that the 446 laws [Habitual Felony Offender laws] that Alabama holds as of 1975 be abolished.

4. We ask that parole board release all inmates who fit the criteria to be back in society with their families.

5. We ask that these prisons in Alabama implement proper classes that will prepare inmates to be released back into society with 21st century information that will prepare inmates to open and own their own businesses instead of making them having to beg for a job.

6. We also ask for monetary damages for mental pain and physical abuse that inmates have already suffered.


For more information on Alabama’s Habitual Felony Offenders Law (their version of the 3 strike laws), read this quick explanation and then these two longer ones here and here [PDF].

For more information on Alabama’s parole process, and how people who are eligible for parole aren’t receiving it: read here.

See also: Ride it ’til the Wheels Fall Off!

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