Refoundation Statement in Support of the National Prison Strike

The Refoundation Caucus of the Democratic Socialists of America has voted to endorse the National Prison Strike declared by incarcerated people from August 21st-September 9th. We stand in solidarity with all who have been incarcerated and those who are fighting for an end to the violent, inhumane conditions within, and the continued existence of, the prison industrial complex. The strikers have made the following demands:

  1. Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and prison policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women.
  2. An immediate end to prison slavery. All persons imprisoned in any place of detention under United States jurisdiction must be paid the prevailing wage in their state or territory for their labor.
  3. The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.
  4. The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole. No human shall be sentenced to Death by Incarceration or serve any sentence without the possibility of parole.
  5. An immediate end to the racial overcharging, over-sentencing, and parole denials of Black and brown humans. Black humans shall no longer be denied parole because the victim of the crime was white, which is a particular problem in southern states.
  6. An immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws targeting Black and brown humans.
  7. No imprisoned human shall be denied access to rehabilitation programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.
  8. State prisons must be funded specifically to offer more rehabilitation services.
  9. Pell grants must be reinstated in all US states and territories.
  10. The voting rights of all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, and so-called “ex-felons” must be counted. Representation is demanded. All voices count!

We fully endorse the demands of the prisoners and support them in their fight to win material gains, to build a broad labor movement of incarcerated workers, and to expose the injustices of the criminal punishment system. We recognize that the institutions of prisons, policing and criminalization exist as a means to further white supremacy and the power of capital, to criminalize race, poverty and dissent, to imprison revolutionary elements, and to repress and break up mass movements. Solidarity to those who fight these unjust institutions, solidarity to our incarcerated comrades, and solidarity to all comrades whose lives are impacted by the carceral apparatus.

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