…and the struggle against them
This page will be subject to regular updates, most notably in the chronology , but also in giving references to interesting texts (and also in the comments boxes at the bottom). So far (22/8/15), in addition to the chronology, I’ve only put in a couple of minor personal experiences related to prison which follows the chronology, and
some other reading material, which will be added to bit by bit. But I wanted to put this out in time for this week’s “solidarity with anarchist prisoners” (originally posted on 15th August 2015).
This is dedicated to Keith LaMar, who in 1993 took part in a US prison uprising which united blacks with white “nazis” 1 against the prison system, in which 9 prisoners and one guard died. Keith LaMar has just had his final appeal against the death penalty turned down, and it looks very likely that, after over 22 years, he will be murdered by the state (look here and here).
Pictures of the Gordon riots in London 1780, when several prisons were liberated and the buildings set on fire
I’ve put this out as a kind of contribution to the International week of solidarity with anarchist prisoners (23-30 August 2015). A bit tokenistic maybe – as it’s only an internet page, but if there’s something going on in my part of the world (Montpellier, France) I’ll probably participate.
And whilst I really like, for instance, this from Emma Sheppard, why limit this solidarity to “anarchist prisoners”? Though obviously people who call themselves anarchists (I’m not one) are more in a position to express practical solidarity with prisoners who they know, do all those prisoners that they know call themselves anarchists? And on the most general level of information and propaganda, it seems far more worthwhile to address all prisoners, considering the necessity for the abolition of prisons and of the society that requires them. Addressing only anarchist prisoners does not contribute to the necessity to overcome separations between “political” prisoners and other class war prisoners (and the vast majority of those in prison are because of class society, especially property laws). It seems to make a hierarchy between apparently “politically conscious” prisoners and others, even though most anarchists want the abolition of prisons. Which is why below I’ve listed a chronology of all prison-related riots, escapes and other things taken from my News of Opposition page, dating back to March 2013, regardless of whether they involved anarchists or not.
Amongst those who claim to want an anti-state revolution, there have been some who believe that “after the revolution” there will still be specialists-in-order (anarcho-cops) and prisons. For instance, leading Libcom admin member Fall Back once called for, “far more complex, modern, well resourced kinds of ‘prisons’ with more progressive aims than currently exist…”communist prisons” …would be a place where people had broken laws would be forcibly detained”. 2 To talk about communist prisons being entirely different from capitalist prisons is like saying the communist State will be entirely different from the capitalist State: here so-called “anarchism” joins Leninism. Incarcerating anti-social leftovers of the mad alienation of class society (the recalcitrant ex-cops, ex-screws, mass-murdering politicians, mass-thieving bourgeoises, rapists, paedophiles, etc.) all in the same hellhole is obviously idiotic. If elements of communal constraint are necessary they will have nothing to do with the brutal repressive reality of prisons throughout history. To think that we’d call such forcible restraint a ‘prison’ is like calling ‘workers’ councils’ (or whatever term you’d like to imagine the future fantasy society to be) ‘the State’ or ‘the government’. This is not just a question of semantic terms but of a break with hierarchical notions and practices of social control. Killing scum is not the same as capital punishment. Forcible restraint is not the same as prison. A margin of rationing (where scarcity is not forced by capitalist property relations but comes about because of, for example, differences between different geographical areas) is not money. Obviously in this future possibility there will be some way of punishing people who act in ways the community they’re part of find unbearable. But it’s not just semantics that separates, say, “grounding” a teenage kid from the idea of putting him/her in prison, but a general attitude that you want social relations to constantly experiment with changes that have some healthy result. If we talk about the abolition of the State that also means abolishing specialists in social control; the task of determining the methods of making it clear to people that certain behaviour is unacceptable will be the task of the whole of the anti-hierarchical community. To ground this in the past and present: what punishments have we received or given that we considered changed a situation for the good? What punishments during intense moments of class struggle have changed situations for the good? What punishments are we prepared to mete out to those we consider beyond the pale? To anyone not clogged up with dominant perspectives, prison isn’t an answer to any of these.
Added 9/9/16: these pages (1, 2, 3 ) about Attica, 1971 (scroll down to the last paragraph of page 1 for the start). “We, the inmates of Attica prison, say to you, the sincere people of society, the prison system of which your courts have rendered unto, is without question the authoritative fangs of a coward in power” – The Popular Manifesto of Attica, September 1971.
See also this about the European maxi-prisons.
This is a chronology of prison riots, hunger strikes and other prison-related matter taken from the News of Opposition page, going back to March 2013.
Mexico, Nuevo Leon: 2 prisoners die on 2nd day of riot “…at least two inmates died and 13 people sustained injuries, including two guards, at the Cadereyta prison near the city of Monterrey….A riot on Monday, in which at least nine people were injured, began as inmates protested the use of X-ray machines to screen visiting relatives, while the one on Tuesday began after inmates set fires and attacked the prison’s pharmacy in what they said was a response to a lack of food and water caused by Monday’s riot. Aldo Fasci Zuazua, the public security secretariat for Nuevo León state, said the riot at the prison on Tuesday began after 56 inmates from the group known as The Renegades broke into the pharmacy to steal medication. Fasci Zuazua said the inmates stole the medication to use them recreationally and burned mattresses in two areas of the prison to distract authorities. He said one inmate died in a hospital after inhaling smoke and injecting or taking drugs, while the other burned to death.”
Mexico, Nuevo Leon: 4 screws taken hostage during prison riot…video & report here “Four prison guards were taken hostage after a riot broke out at Cadereyta state prison, Monday, with hundreds of inmates reportedly setting fire to mattresses, sending smoke billowing into the sky over the facility. Some 600 members of the prison’s 2,000-strong population allegedly began burning the mattresses in retaliation to strict security controls. The four prison guards were taken hostage during the uprising and at least 45 people, both guards and prisoners, were wounded.”
US, Pittsburgh: county jail attacked by about 25 masked protesters “… a group of 20-25 protesters had become disorderly. They were throwing rocks at the building and setting off fireworks. Windows and glass panels were broken but the jail remained secure. Two Bike Officers were first to arrive on the scene. They encountered a group of people all dressed in black or dark clothing. Their faces were covered with masks or bandannas. Large-scale fireworks were being launched…As members of the group fled, some ran outbound along Second Avenue and others ran down the bike trail toward Downtown and cut through the parking lot. They damaged several vehicles by breaking their side mirrors and broke the mechanical arm of a gate that opens and closes the driveway. An Allegheny County Sheriffs vehicle and a civilian’s vehicle had shattered rear windows. A side door to the Municipal Court Building was graffitied. “ Anarchist report here
Guatemala, San Jose Pinula: 2 “jail monitors” killed in prison riot “…inmates also started a fire in one part of the prison. Police threw tear gas canisters to control the violent outbreak.”…3rd screw dies
US, Nebraska: 2 prisoners die in riot “…inmates revolted against staff members and started a fire in a courtyard. Prison officials offered few details about the deaths but said the disturbance at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution in southeast Nebraska involved about 40 inmates in a unit with 128 prisoners. The prison was placed on lockdown for several hours after the inmates refused to return to their cells….inmates had taken mattresses out into the prison yard and threw them into the fire”
US, Delaware: prisoners take over part of prison and hold screws hostage “”…the prisoners are against improper sentencing orders. Status sheets being wrong. Oppression towards the inmates. We’re trying to explain the reasons for doing what we’re doing…Donald Trump. Everything that he did. All the things that he’s doing now. We know that the institution is going to change for the worse. We know the institution is going to change for the worse. We got demands that you need to pay attention to, that you need to listen to and you need to let them know. Education, we want education first and foremost. We want a rehabilitation program that works for everybody. We want the money to be allocated so we can know exactly what is going on in the prison, the budget.”…Screw killed Apparently the standoff ended after 18 hours, when guards used construction equipment to smash through a wall, surprising and overwhelming the prisoners.
France, Valence: 10 kindergarten, primary, middle and high schools have their locks blocked by action in solidarity with revolt in prison (the trial of the “mutineers” starts this day) “Tags left on their walls, as well as a tract …Various messages appeared, such as: “Prison is death. Life is in revolt. Solidarity with the mutineers of Valence and elsewhere “,” In prison the bad guys are above all the screws “,” Tired of homework, long live freedom “, “Every age wrecks their cage “,” Long live the mutineers of the prison of Valencia – trial today, 6/01 to 14h “, “Neither prison nor religion, long live mutiny and insubordination” (on a private catholic school).…
Tract left at schools:
Allow us to waste a little of your time to speak of those from whom the state steals all their time, when it is not their life. It’s happening here very close to you, but also everywhere in France and elsewhere. Yet we do not often talk about these places where the government puts aside those that it considers detrimental to the smooth running of the system. The recalcitrants who no longer accept being crushed, those who initiate a violence which the powerful ones would like to monopolise, or simply the undesirables that can easily be removed in order to perpetuate the established order.
We do not often talk about prison, yet it is part of our lives. When one passes between its walls, when one goes to see a relative in the visiting area, when one submits to its threats. Like the cops and the legal system, it is one of the gears of a machine whose aim is to make us accept without complaint a world based on exploitation and domination.
In recent months rumors have come to us from inside the French prisons. These are the cries of some of the forgotten who try to break through the walls and barbed wire. Vandalism, revolts and uprisings have rapidly exploded since last summer. It seems that some have decided to return some of the violence back to the people who imprison them.
On 25 September at the central building (for those destined to long sentences) of the penitentiary center of Valence, a mutiny broke out. A keychain was stolen from a screw under threat, the doors of the cells were opened by mutineers, furniture and cameras destroyed, fires lit.
Friday, January 6, three people will go to trial at the criminal court of Valence, accused of being the leaders of this revolt. By designating the guilty ones, the law seeks both to punish heavily by example (they risk up to 20 years in prison) and to minimize the collective character of the revolt. Reducing what happened to individual deviations helps to hide the reasons for revolting against imprisonment. This was when the mutiny occurred in a context of general tension within the prison and a second mutiny occurred on 27 November despite the transfers that followed that of September.
To designate leaders is also to satisfy the screws who will be able to generously round up their monthly wages with damages and appease their thirst for revenge. Flatter them a little so that for a moment they stop whining about the conditions of a job they choose to do knowing it is akin to that of a hangman.
Maybe it’s time to listen attentively to what’s happening inside prisons. Not to turn your eyes away again just hoping not to be the next one. To bring our solidarity to the mutineers and those accused of being so. For example by coming to support them during their trial, but also by fighting daily against the disgusting shit that is prison.
SOLIDARITY WITH THE MUTINEERS OF THE PRISON OF VALENCE AND ELSEWHERE”
France, Besançon: demo outside prison, heavy duty fireworks thrown over wall, “Everybody out!” graffitied, loud slogans – “stone by stone, wall by wall, we will destroy all the prisons”, “death to jails!”, “set fire to the prisons, the screws in the middle …”; similar demos round Paris and Toulouse
South Africa, Port Elizabeth: 3 prisoners killed during riot The riot began as an attack on screws but these reports give no indication of who the prisoners were killed by – prisoners or screws. Given that the authorities would normally indicate that it was prisoners doing the killing, one suspects that this was yet another case of state murder. And this report implies the killings were by the state: “During the attack on the warders, which started in the food hall in the late morning, another group of inmates forced their way into the administration building and locked themselves inside. They used teargas to keep the staff and ERT officials at bay. Some of the records housed in the building were destroyed. Thirteen warders were wounded – some of them stabbed with home-made knives – and 19 prisoners were injured, besides the three fatalities.”
UK, Wigan: noise demo at UK’s “worst jail” “Right now a prisoner takes their own life every 3 days, and many more harm themselves, at the highest rate since records began. “IPP” prisoners, trapped inside without a release date, are the most likely to kill and harm themselves.” IPP: “In 2010 a joint report by the chief inspectors of prisons and probation concluded that IPP sentences were unsustainable with UK prison overcrowding. In 2012 the IPP sentence for new cases was abolished by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act, although over 6,000 prison inmates remained imprisoned for public protection; over 4,600 remained as of June 2015. Three-quarters of them had completed their minimum term, and about 400 had served five times the minimum.” See also this on IPP.
Australia, Papua New Guinea: asylum seekers riot at notorious detention centre over death of Sudanese “Asylum seekers held at a Papua New Guinea detention center briefly took control of two compounds and expelled guards following the death of a refugee who fell ill at the center…The man’s death is not being treated as suspicious by Australian authorities, but detainees and refugee rights groups have claimed the man was seriously ill for months and had made repeated requests for medical assistance before the emergency.”
UK, Hull: semi-riot in prison “Order has been restored to Hull Prison amid fears 15 dangerous prisoners transferred from Birmingham were attempting another riot….Prison officers said staff had been assaulted, CCTV cameras were torched and inmates refused to return to their cells following the arrival of the prisoners from HMP Birmingham”
UK, Birmingham: major riot in Winson Green prison “Sources claim the full scale riot started in P Wing when a prison officer was overpowered. They claim it quickly spread to N Wing – and keys have been taken by inmates. One hardened lag, speaking through a relative, said: “I have been in riots before and this is, by far, the worst I’ve come across.”… The prisoner claimed the trouble was sparked by the death of an inmate two weeks ago. It is believed the man committed suicide….it all started over there no being enough hot water in the shower or something like that. There are no officers on the wing now. They have abandoned it. There is major damage to the wing….as I understand it, there is a major disturbance on N Wing which has now spread to L and M wing. “Apparently prisoners started by smashing light fittings and wing fire hoses and that is why they cut off the water. “They tried to get the prisoners back behind doors and as they were trying one officer was threatened with a syringe. Another prisoner came up behind him and snatched keys and broke the security chain.” More here “Water has been switched back on at Winson Green prison and inmates are being encouraged to extinguish fires as safety concerns heighten. With riots raging at HMP Birmingham for nearly 11 hours, fires are burning in several parts of the jail.” and here “When we were told this morning that we were not getting exercise everyone went mad. They have had enough. “They cancel gym all the time, the showers are cold, the food is crap, the heating is never on and we never get our mail on time.” The rioting kicked off at around 9am today as officers were ordered to abandon wings that fell under inmate control. Pictures from inside the jail show inmates wearing stolen police riot gear, bashing down prison doors and showing off a pair of keys.” More here “The incident sparked the takeover of at least four wings of the Category B prison by around 400 criminals – including the gym, pharmacy and security equipment store….It took 14 hours for specialist ‘Tornado team’ prison riot officers and armed police to get the situation back under control…. inmates had breached internal gates and threw paint at the Tornado team as the riot continues to spread…. inmates had breached wings and had entered exercise yards after starting fires, destroying files and throwing computers from windows in the offender management unit….”If they destroy all of those records it is going to take months or even years to rebuild the information.”
Winsome Grin: prisoners dress up in riot gear
Canada, Saskatchewan: prisoner killed during prison riot “They ripped beds off walls, heavy steel beds. Desks were thrown into a pile. They used them to block doors. Windows were smashed out, they were setting fires to mattresses, smashed the fridges and microwaves. It was confined to one portion of the medium security area — an area that housed approximately 185 inmates. It was in the living unit. …Meal portion sizes may have been a contributing factor, but there’s no way to determine if that was the trigger or not. …It wasn’t just kitchen workers who refused to go to work (on Wednesday). At the point when this happened, everybody — 185 inmates — refused to go to their programs, their work, their school. At that point, normally, we lock up. But when they went to close the area, the inmates refused to go into their cells.”More here. “They smashed out all the lights, all the cameras, all the windows.” The inmates also set up barricades.”
France, Valence: new prison riot “… several cells …were set on fire…Shortly after 12:00 on Sunday, two detainees threatened a prison officer with a “knife” , in order to steal his set of keys…The supervisor was then released and was not injured…The detainees then opened cells on the three floors of this section intended for long sentences. A fire broke out …Several cells were burned and water damage was reported but no injuries were reported”
France: Vinci (company involved in prison construction and the Notre Dames de Lande airport project) becomes the object of a fake press release, by supporters of the resistance at Notre Dame de Landes This press release claimed that there’d been 3.4 billion euros worth of accounting irregularities and that the director of finance had been sacked. It included a fake link to a site which was almost exactly the same as the Vinci site, with a phone number to the pre-paid mobile phone of a person who confirmed the report. The media publishes the information immediately and the price drops 18%. Since it is unprecedented to publish such things during stock trading hours, and suspicions were aroused, a 2nd fake communique is issued with the sentence “Malicious people have harmed our group by diverting information that has been leaked from our offices”, which implicitly confirmed the content of the initial communique. Just before the closing of trading, Vinci issues a very clear denial, but they still finished 4% down. The “pirates” welcomed Vinci’s stock market downturn, and attacked them for a variety of projects, notably the Notre Dame des Landes airport, whose forest “already feels its retreat under concrete”, and “the blows that this company constantly gives to the Nepalese and the Indians who die every day on their construction sites in Qatar “.
UK: fires etc. at 3 prisons as screws complain about how unhappy their lot is “Six fire engines were called to Channings Wood on Tuesday after a fire started inside the building but the blaze was out when they arrived….An inmate at HMP Featherstone near Wolverhampton contacted BBC WM on a mobile phone which he said had been smuggled in to say the the jail was “totally out of control”. He said inmates were unaware about the protest being staged by prison officers, a claim the Ministry of justice (MoJ) denied. …There were also reports of a small fire in a cell at Norwich Prison on Tuesday which the fire service extinguished.”
Australia, Melbourne: prison riots again “Windows were smashed, walls destroyed and security doors, weighing hundreds of kilograms, ripped down. Hammers, chisels, screwdrivers and lumps of wood were seized from a tool storage area as staff beat a retreat. The 20-bed Eastern Hill unit was flooded after inmates smashed the sprinklers using stolen tools. An angle grinder — used in a metal work program — was then used to cut through locks on several doors and breach restricted areas. Other children, frustrated they were forced into lockdown most of the weekend, began pulling sprinklers in their cells to cause flooding….computers and game consoles were smashed and litres of paint splashed around. Inmates from the West Gate unit later joined in, smashing expanses of ceiling, destroying locks and doors, tearing away electrical wiring and ripping out state-of-the-art security cameras. Some teenagers smashed through the ceiling of an inmate who did not want to take part and beat him. The nightmare for staff was compounded when, at one stage, they had to change their communications channel because they believed inmates had got hold of a radio and were listening in.”
Australia, Perth: riot in juvenile prison causes at least $350,00 worth of damage “The latest violent incident at Perth’s juvenile detention centre – the 10th in less than two-and-a-half months…The youths barricaded themselves in, removed bricks from walls and threw them at staff, broke every reinforced glass window and pulled panelling and cabling out of the ceiling”…Melbourne: and an even bigger riot in a prison for young “offenders” causes $2m worth of damages “Rioting inmates have destroyed security cameras and ripped ceilings and walls apart, causing an estimated $2 million in damages at Melbourne’s youth detention centre. About 20 inmates at the Parkville facility were left without beds on Saturday night after their cells were trashed. The riot came as an inmate at another prison facility attacked four prison officers, inflicting a serious neck injury….the sprinkler system was also severely damaged after the group broke into one of the buildings and found a sledge hammer and shovel. Computers were then thrown through the windows before the group climbed up on the roof and demanded junk food and a phone…The disturbance is believed to have been started by the same youth who triggered another riot on Thursday at the centre….In September, inmates and staff clashed for three consecutive nights and several juvenile offenders threatened staff and took control of part of the centre….In the separate prison incident on Saturday night, four Port Phillip Prison officers were assaulted during a cell search, with one suffering a suspected serious neck injury.”
UK, London: pretty rare, corny, classic yet wonderful escape from famous Caledonian Road prison “It is understood the pair used diamond-tipped cutting equipment to break through their cell bars before scaling an outer perimeter wall….the runaways had folded bedsheets into the shape of mannequins to fool staff into believing they were still asleep… the two men escaped through a cell window on the fifth floor…it was rumoured they had used bedsheets to lower themselves down.” Almost 300 years after Jack Sheppard’s famous escapes and so far modern totalitarianism has yet to find ways to suppress the beautiful innocence of tried and tested proletarian inventiveness. Tempted reflexively to say“Thank God!” – but “Thank the Human Spirit!” is far better.
UK, Bedford: up to 300 prisoners riot, forcing guards to flee “Reports say “hundreds” of inmates are reportedly causing chaos at the category B jail after “ransacking” guards’ offices and arming themselves with knives….A man claiming to be an inmate said cops have swarmed the prison, with up to 300 prisoners involved in the riot. He told Mirror Online: “We’ve got control of the prison. Prisoners are walking around with knives and coshes. They’ve nicked mobile phones out of the office, everything’s been smashed.”… prisoners ripping up toilets and causing mass damage. Guards are said to have fled the prison” More here “…inmates carrying blades are ransacking guards’ offices, setting small fires and stealing medical supplies.”
Haiti, Arcahaie: over 100 prisoners escape “More than 100 mostly barefoot inmates overpowered guards on Saturday and escaped from a lockup … One guard was reported killed and others were injured. The escapees stole an unknown number of weapons and some exchanged gunfire with police during the chaotic breakout….The inmates attacked after they were released from a crammed holding pen to bathe…Haitian prisons are notoriously overcrowded and many inmates spend years in pre-trial detention….Three prisoner were wounded, including one who died as a consequence of his wounds.” This claims that 174 prisoners escaped.
sites of the first 9 new prisons to be constructed
Chile, Santiago: barricades and clashes in solidarity with several class war prisoners Leaflets scattered around the place, expressing their solidarity with Tamara Sol Farías Vegara, Andrés Aravena (Chico), Jean Gutiérrez (Legua) and other comrades being put on trial in “the PDI case”.
Brazil, Sao Paulo state: 200 prisoners escape after riot, just half re-captured “The riot began at the morning check-up, with prisoners burning mattresses and rushing the fence. Once the fence broke, the prisoners escaped down a four-meter slope and across a road….According to G1, the Jardinopolis prison has a capacity for 1,080 prisoners but currently holds 1,864 inmates.” Latest report says 470 PRISONERS ESCAPED!!!!
Eire, Dublin: riot in youth detention centre “senior management were in the centre all evening but were unable to prevent serious damage being caused to one of the remaining wings of the centre, which is supposed to house up to 90 inmates but is thought to contain only between 30 and 40 now.”…More here “Since the €56m centre officially opened in January last year, there have been dozens of serious attacks on staff leading to high levels of sickness leave….In the last attempted break-out in August eight young offenders broke out of their secured rooms and onto a detention centre roof after a staff member was overpowered and threatened with boiling water. The incident that led to the riot and fire was started while staff were protesting about attacks, injuries and fears for their lives at the gates of the facility in north county Dublin. … the offenders used the protest to their advantage when one requested refreshments, and a staff member who brought them was confronted, threatened and overpowered at the door and had their keys taken. The offender was then able to free others who then took over the accommodation block. Eight offenders then accessed the roof and started pulling the tiles off, and set fire to Blocks 1, 2 and 3. When emergency services were called it is reported that some of the offenders on the roof threw roof tiles down at them. There were no reports of injuries to fire crews, but the blaze took hold and eleven units of Dublin Fire Brigade spent hours fighting the fire. Accommodation Block 3 collapsed due to the extent of the blaze, and Blocks 1 and 2 were left gutted. One staff member was injured and treated in hospital when searching the facility for detainees who had absconded from their accommodation.”
Australia, Victoria: prisoners riot at young offenders prison “Inmates repeatedly beat down windows and other sectors of the complex as well as allegedly set a building on fire”
USA, Alabama : screw stabbed by prisoner dies More info on what happens at Holman here and here. Holman Prison, AL: Free Alabama Movement issues press release calling for an end to the humanitarian crisis at the prison. They state through social media that many guards are not reporting to work and that much of the prison remains unguarded…As the prison strike keeps going, following FAM seems to provide pretty current news, re: the CO who was just killed, the strike, etc.
US, Florida: prisoners take over dormitory “These riots will continue to increase in frequency, increasing the likelihood that our corrections officers will be injured, said Kimberly Schultz, president of Teamsters 2011, the union representing FDC’s officers. She said that prisoners have assaulted 30 officers since April and that one prison, Franklin, has had three inmate riots this year alone.”
France, Vivonne: a hundred or so prisoners revolt and set fire to part of prison More here “A dozen cells were destroyed”
A prison radio show about the strike is online and has statements and updates.
The friend who sent the following said “hard to tell how connected it is, but i guess well never know…”) :
Mayo, Florida This article also references “pockets of inmates refusing to work across the state”. Alsothis reports “smaller [disturbances] were reported in a number of other prisons across the state”.
Bristol, Florida (yet another Florida panhandle prison).
Tecumseh, Nebraska (in anticipation of sept. 9?)
Guantanamo Bay (“small number of men at Camp 6 are continuing their hunger strikes”)
This is from here:
- Alabama: Work stoppage in Holman. Brief report from the inside here.
- Bonifay, FL: Sit down strikes and work stoppages at Holmes. Corporate news report here.
- Florida: “Disturbances” at Gulf and Mayo prisons, as well as “smaller” disturbances at other locations.Corporate news report here.
- Troy, VA: Women at Fluvanna prison participate in the strike.
- North Carolina: Prisoners refuse work. Read brief update here.
- Leavenworth, KS: Chelsea Manning announces hunger strike. More info here.
- Chowchilla, CA: Work strikes and lockdown at Central California Women’s Prison. Brief report says:
A few women incarcerated people refused to work and because of the nationwide prison strike, and fear of an uprising, the prison was locked down stopping ALL slave labor!
- Kansas: Women prisoners strike at an unnamed facility.
- Tecumseh, NE: Three guards injured by inmate. Corporate news report here.
And this references “confirmed strikes underway in Florida, South Carolina, and Texas”
More snippets of information here.
US, Florida: at least 4 prison dorms barricaded “The action is believed to be part of a nationwide prisoner strike planned for September 9 in observance of the anniversary of the Attica Prison riot that occurred at Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York in 1971.”
See these pages (1, 2, 3 ) about Attica, 1971 (scroll down to the last paragraph of page 1 for the start). “We, the inmates of Attica prison, say to you, the sincere people of society, the prison system of which your courts have rendered unto, is without question the authoritative fangs of a coward in power” – The Popular Manifesto of Attica, September 1971.
Australia, Perth: mini riot in juvenile detention centre “The Department of Corrective Services’ special operations group were brought in and used flash bombs and pepper spray on four males aged 17 and 18 who barricaded themselves in a wing of the Banksia Hill centre on Thursday. The detainees smashed windows and pulled doors off cupboards, the fridge and oven and the centre was in lockdown from 12.55pm to 2.30pm, according to the CPSU/CSA union, causing up to $150,000 damage. A similar incident occurred on Monday when three teenagers barricaded themselves inside a unit and smashed a television and furniture.”
Nigeria: prison riot leaves 13 prisoners and 1 screw dead “… the inmates rioted over alleged poor meals served them by the prison officials…. the inmates allegedly snatched a rifle from one of the guards in the prison yard and purportedly shot some of the prison officials which provoked the officials into retaliation.”
Mexico (Mexico City) : inmates of Teenagers’ detention center block screws from entering and injure three of them (in spanish) Authorities say the action has to do with fights between prisoners, while it seems it has much more to do with the conditions of detention (or detention itself).
Italy (Brindisi) : revolt in migrants detention center (in Italian with a few pictures)
UK, Norfolk: prison governor beaten up in provoked attack “A prison governor has been seriously injured in an “unprovoked” beating at the hands of an inmate….Mr Cawkwell, who has held a number of senior positions in the prison service, has received hospital treatment for his injuries….There have been a number of reports of disruptions at HMP Wayland this year. In May, about 20 inmates were involved in a “food fight” which broke out during lunch, while two inmates attempted to grab keys from officers in a separate incident in June. Another HMP Wayland inmate was jailed in June for an assault on two guards, during which one was bitten, according to police.”
UK, Northumberland: an eye for an eye, a jaw for a jaw…screw finds himself in hot water “A prison officer has been left with a suspected broken jaw and fractured eye socket after he was attacked by an inmate….A prison officer, who asked not to be named, also alleged an inmate had thrown boiling water over another guard on the same day. The whistle-blower said: “We have lost control of the jail and there will be another major incident if something isn’t done. … staff are scared to go to work.”
Morocco, Casablanca: buses burnt, 19 security officials hurt, in massive riot in young offenders prison “Twenty-eight people were wounded in a riot … Most of the casualties were admitted to hospital….19 security personnel, firefighters and prison administrators were wounded when officials tried to contain the unrest and restore order. The rest of the casualties were inmates…. the “insurgency and riot”…caused “massive material damage.”
Russia, Siberia : prison riot (video) “the interior of one of the prison’s buildings was destroyed from within by prisoners breaking off doors, throwing tables and overturning beds” More here: “they barricaded themselves into their barracks and demanded a lighter labor regimen… During the course of six hours of negotiations with the criminals, they were offered various solutions to resolve the situation, and the convicts were guaranteed full observation of their rights and lawful interests. However these convicts refused completely any options offered, demanding a significant weakening of the incarceration regime, which is against the law”… Novaya Gazeta reported that 242 inmates were said to take part in the rebellion”
Canada, British Columbia: young prisoners smash up detention centre “Inmates started smashing microwaves, windows and other items…The young offenders then broke into a staff area and a second living unit, and continued destroying items, pulling out sprinklers and starting fires…They continued to riot on the second living unit for some time, completely destroying windows, tables, microwaves, dishwashers and sprinkler heads, causing a major flood.” More here: “a rampage that lasted six hours and caused extensive …The Ministry of Children and Family Development confirmed Wednesday that there was a serious incident involving extensive dam-age, including some fire damage, but released few details…. the incident involved seven male youths aged 15 to 17 who extensively damaged furniture and electronic equipment after starting a small fire by putting paper into a toaster — a fire they later put out them-selves….Cronkhite said there is no indication that rival gang tensions were a root cause of the incident. “The primary motivating factor behind the incident appears to have been a room search earlier in the day, which resulted in a loss of privileges.” …Turpel-Lafond said she has been tracking a rise in assaults, saying attacks on officers and on other youth at the Burnaby centre are “routinely reported”
UK, Wiltshire: prison riot after smoking ban “Two wings of the category-C jail were trashed when the caged jailbirds began to battle with each other.Staff struggled to control the chaos at Erlestoke Prison in Wiltshire after a rooftop protest. Toliets were ripped out, rooms were smashed and riot cells doors were kicked in, a lag’s wife claimed…And the inmates ruled the roost until the early hours of Sunday.”
Thailand (Bangkok) : musician receives two years’ of jail suspended sentence for painting an anarchy symbol on a sign in front of the Criminal Court, after his friend was murdered, and military trial of main suspect seems to cover the murder Gives a glimpse of present repression in Thailand under Military junta’s power, where things such as 20,000 preventive arrests before National holiday (http://www.chiangraitimes.com/thai-police-arrest-more-than-20000-suspected-criminals-in-one-week.html) or sending people to years of jail for very light critics of the monarchy happen on a daily basis. Interesting to see that the sentenced musician (though seeming to put some trust in Justice) seems to receive support, in a very conservative country where his acts (tags) could be seen as pretty offensive. Also good to see that unlike in many public cases, he maintains a non-repentant attitude, when many usually accept their guilt for various crimes, apologize publicly, in the pure Thai institutional Theravada Bhuddism logic. (Note by Pi)
US, Pittsburgh: 3rd riot in 2 weeks at juvenile centre “Three were arrested for risking a catastrophe”
Thailand (Phang Nga, south) : Rohingya migrants escape from detention center, one is killed by police One can never emphasize enough the absolute horror experienced by Burmese , Cambodian or Laotian migrants in Thailand, and the treatment of refugees by the authorities (and by some non-negligible part of the population) over several decades. Thailand did not hesitate, in the late 70s, to return Cambodian refugees, in the middle of the Khmer Rouge horror, across minefields and later to return Vietnamese boat people by sea… similar treatment is reserved today for the Rohingyas of Burma, a group coming from Muslim culture and religion who are escaping the state of Arakan en masse , where they are treated as outcasts.
Whilst this is going on, rednecks from our part of the world (who’d do better by joining the movement happening now) watch “people from Marseille” [French TV reality show] in Thailand – some jerks (who could just as well be from Lorraine or Bearn) filmed close to Phang Nga, Koh Lanta, for the umpteenth pathetic broadcast for which the society of the spectacle has the know-how (and it can keep it!). [Pi]
France, Marseille: 3 cars belonging to prison guards completly burnt out by arsonists “According to our information, 2 cars belonging to guards of Baumettes [Marseille prison] had already been burnt out a month ago and 3 others three years ago”
US (Alabama) : Alabama Prison Strike Ends After Scabs Brought In would be good to have more info on it, but communicate has some ambigueties to me, see strategy of dialogue led by outside representants (I wrote something on it in french) [Pi]
Belgium: report on how 2-week strike by screws is effecting prisons and prisoners “The Belgian government “decided to requisition the assistance of the army, in order to provide additional humanitarian support in the Brussels and Walloon prisons”, said the Prime Minister Charles Michel in a statement tonight. … In this chaotic context, prisoners have revolted in a certain number of establishments: destroyed furniture, beds on fire, broken windows … Lack of sufficient staff due to the strike, the detainees haven’t been able to go out of their cells for fourteen days. They have no outlets in the yard, no family visits and have had the opportunity to have access to showers only three times during the two-week strike…. Amateur images of the prison of Andenne, between the Belgian city of Charleroi and Liège, have been leaked on the internet and social networks this Sunday. A prisoner filmed a scene inside the institution and we see a room ravaged with objects on fire. … “They set fire to pieces of paper or tissues and throw them into the yard. There were some incipient fires but nothing that requires the intervention of firefighters, “…In the prison of Namur, “prisoners are breaking furniture and throwing mayonnaise and urine on the rare guards who are working”
Belgium, Anvers: major prison riot ” 170 prisoners refused to return to their cells. They set fire to several places and threw stones….according to the mayor the damage is very significant. “This is the largest uprising that’s happened in this prison,” added the mayor. “It caused a fire, walls were broken, windows were broken, locks were foced . This will weigh on our capacity for the coming months. In some blocks, the cells are totally destroyed.”
France, Gard (Nimes): small very lively demo at detention centre for undocumented migrants Lots of tags, a bit of sabotage of centre’s door keypad, traffic disrupted for some time and encouraging support from hooting cars and passers-by.
“Neither documents nor borders” , “Forged papers for everyone!”, “”Neither law nor borders”
Burkina Faso, Dedougou: cops threaten to release all detainees after massive riot attacking them for beating to death man held in custody “…protesters threw projectiles at the police facility, after ransacking the homes of some gendarmes…This has created frustration within the gendarmerie and some police stations are considering releasing their detainees, according to security sources which state that negotiations are underway with the military hierarchy. A government delegation arrived at the scene. For several months, Burkina Faso has been facing a rise in incivility and distrust of state authority. On Saturday, angry people burned a transit bus within the walls of the gendarmerie of Ziniaré, about thirty kilometers from Ouagadougou, after an accident in which a motorcyclist died. In mid-March, a mob consisting of about 1,000 people, confronted the Cinkansé gendarmerie, in order to attack an alleged murderer of two stockbrokers from Cinkansé-Togo, who was in custody in a cell… killing one gendarme and injuring four others.”
More here: http://lepays.bf/mort-dun-garde-a-vue-a-dedougou-population-colere-incendie-domiciles-cb-adjoint/
” …traditional authorities, religious and administrative, were forced to intervene to try to calm the situation down. But it was futile because the event flared up with the sacking and burning of the private homes of the commander of the brigade and his deputy. ”
Indonesia, West Java: prison riot after suicide of prisoner “Part of the Banceuy Narcotics Prison was set alight during the riot, causing extensive damage to the front of the facility. Two cars and two motorcycles were also destroyed in the blaze, before the arrival of three fire trucks. At least five of the nearly 600 police officers deployed at the prison were injured when inmates threw stones at them, before reportedly setting fire to the building.”
West Java, prison riot – fires started in 6 different places
Indonesia, Bali: prisoners riot against transfer of murderous gang to their prison “Prisoners inside the prison, numbered in the hundreds, broke windows, threw stones and tried to kick out the returning inmates”
Nauru: clashes between guards and migrants at Australia’s notorious detention centre “…members of the Wilson Security emergency response team hit teenagers who had been protesting…the detainees locked the response team members out of part of the camp, and retaliated by throwing rocks and chairs.”
UK, Dorset: fires started in young “offenders” prison “Following incidents on Wednesday, which led to firefighters being called on three separate occasions, there was further trouble today when it was claimed some inmates had tried to flood their cells….Initially, three fires were reported in cells although it was claimed by a prison source that there were in fact many more. …The source said: “There were indeed four prisoners who managed to get onto the netting between the landings. However, there were at least 12 cell fires. The prison was locked down because of the multiple cell fires. “Prisoners smashed up their cells, causing a large amount of damage.”…Birmingham: screw hospitalised during prison protest
US, Alabama: prisoners riot, set fires…warden and screw stabbed… more here “There are videos circulating on social media of prisoners burning the control towers and opening all doors. “We’re tired of this shit, there’s only one way to deal with it: tear the prison down” one of the participants stated.”
…blog by one of the prisoners here, unrelated to the riot.
New Zealand, Wellington: prison riot “TEARGAS was used to quell a fresh wave of violence that erupted yesterday in the state’s prisons, including a deliberate ambush of guards after two cells were set on fire”
“The riot first began Wednesday when inmates angered by a search and confiscation of cellphones set fires in one part of the prison, located in the capital of Georgetown. On Thursday, police and prison guards moved in, setting off battles with inmates armed with pieces of wooden bed frames, officials said. Prisoners began the violence anew Friday morning, setting another fire, breaking out of cells and lobbing teargas canisters back at police and prison officers. Soon thereafter a delegation of more than 12 shackled and handcuffed inmates were escorted from the jail to participate in closed-door talks with the South American country’s minister of state and public security minister.”
“Protesters held placards and chanted slogans, such as “stop the police, abolition prisons”…Punches fly as police block #NoPrideInPrisons from their parade. Pride began as protest against police brutality”
Brazil, Recife : second prison breakout in a week, this time 2 killed and only 1 ex-prisoner still on the run
40 are still on the run after last week’s escape.
France, Moirans – 3 months after direct actions, repression strikes against gypsies demonstrating for prisoner friends
See October 20 news for more on what happened
Australia, Christmas Island: migrants riot at detention centre
“Detainees set buildings alight and armed themselves with baseball bats in a riot at an Australian immigration facility on Christmas Island…Officials admitted the disturbance, sparked by the unexplained death of an escaped asylum-seeker, was out of control.”
Nigeria (Okere): prison riot
“…the inmates had complained bitterly about a lack of water, electricity, and the high handedness of ACP Okoro who always confiscated items donated to the inmates by charities for his own use and mailing these items to his home State of Imo. It was learned that ASP Okoro had recently assaulted an inmate for fetching water in the yard following which the inmates requested to meet with him on Monday through the Prison keeper to register their grievances. However, Mr. Okoro refused to make himself available . It was also gathered that the already inmates demanded to see the Controller of Prisons in the State on Friday. Unfortunately all of their efforts were rebuffed and, as a result, the inmates began a hunger strike and then began to riot on Saturday morning. In response to the riot, the driver of ASP Okoro was seen using teargas on the inmates and in reaction, the inmates destroyed the administrative building and some of their cells and demanded for the immediate sacking of ASP Okoro. …the situation was brought under control by the Nigerian Army, police, and prison warders. The incident caused a serious gridlock on the surrounding road”
France, Calais: 2 refugee prison container construction site machines destroyed in arson attack
Containers were also tagged. The tags were demands or inscriptions such as “Fuck Cameron”…or”Fuck government”
Zambia (Lukulu): 27 prisoners escape when crowd attack police station after man dies in cop custody
“some residents …turned their anger against police, looting, vandalising and breaking locks to the cells holding the 27 suspects who included remandees”
France (Osny) : 8 prison vans completely burnt
Several attacks against screws happened in this prison this year, and there was a collective movement of prisoners in August.
UK (Winchester): prison riot – 5 screws (plus a nurse) injured
Guatemala: at least 6 dead as cops and army crush prison riot “The prison…houses 3,092 prisoners but it has capacity for 600. Guatemala awarded Mexican construction company ICA, which has been struggling under a heavy debt burden, a multi-million dollar contract to expand the prison late last year, according to official contract data”
Mexico – Coscomatepec (Veracruz state) : direct action to release imprisoned woman ‘Armed habitants of 5 villages block avenues in the town of Cordoba, detain court employees and threaten judge with setting him on fire if he doesn’t release an imprisoned 64 yr old woman, and get what they came for.’
UK, Norfolk: prisoner tries an alternative to the usual canteen food “Two prison officers were conducting roll call when Beckford launched an unprovoked assault on both men, leaving one with bruising and the other with a deep bite wound to his chest which needed hospital treatment.”
South Africa, Mpumalanga: two inmates die and six badly burned in prison protest apparently they set their mattresses on fire over poor conditions and it backfired [SK]
Australia: pigs regain control of immigrant detention centre after intense riot ‘…there were reports of some detainees barricading themselves inside with petrol bombs, machetes and chainsaws after raiding a garden shed for weapons. The unrest began in the early hours of yesterday morning after upset detainees asked officials what happened to Kurdish refugee Fazel Chegeni, whose body was found on Sunday following his escape from the detention centre.’ Interestingly, ethnic solidarity had nothing to do with the riots: ‘Media reports suggest New Zealanders were behind the uprising, which saw centre guards flee, fires burn and walls smashed… Attempts to contact New Zealanders in the centre were unsuccessful tonight but yesterday a Kiwi detainee told NZME people being “treated like animals” sparked the riots. The man, who NZME chose not to name, said the riots kicked off after one person was allegedly assaulted by a guard when they asked about the body. “It was just a matter of time, all of us knew it. It was a matter of time because of the way they treat people … They’re meant to be so called welfare carers. Duty of care is their number-one policy and bringing service to us, but they treat us like dogs. We’re treated like animals in here.”‘
United States, Utah: inmates of ‘youth centre’ riot “Our officers went in and tried to take care of the problem, and as they would go into one area, a problem would develop in another area”
France, Isere: travellers politely request temporary release from prison of man to be able to go to his brother’s funeral; simultaneous riot in prison “A hundred people with iron bars blocked the station. Around it, there was heavy looting, including the restaurant attached to the station ….. The RD1085 [a major road] at Moirans was blocked “by about thirty people burning pallets and wrecked cars on the road….Traffic remained cut off for hours. At the station, a burning vehicle on the tracks interrupted traffic….” Representatives of the Travellers, settled in Moiran, were negotiating with their lawyer and judge … to ask the brother… of a victim of a road accident that occurred this weekend so he can “attend the funeral to be held on Wednesday,” …But “justice seems to refuse to accede to their request.” “Their lawyer appealed the decision. Having no response…at 4:01 p.m. the standoff began” on the RD 1085… where having plundered the neighbouring breakers’ yard, they blocked the road and then set fire to vehicles, …..A mutiny also erupted in the detention center of Aiton (Savoie) where the young man is incarcerated.”
leaves on the line?
“…some 100 travelers stormed the company and assaulted the enterprise’s boss. …Roma almost stormed the city hall building, from which all workers had to be evacuated. The schools of the city were under siege, too, and the administration wouldn’t let the students outside….At the same time, a mutiny broke out in the prison of Aiton in Savoy, where the inmate in question is kept. Twenty prisoners set fire to their corridor and destroyed the locks of their cells….No one has been injured in the clashes.” – from here
Australia, Christmas Island: riot cops storm deportation centre…Sydney: Prime Minister’s office occupied by people demanding closure of asylum seeker detention centres…article about Australia’s youth detention centres (from 21st Oct.)…online comic about Villawood migrant detention centre
Brazil, Teofilo Otoni: 14 prisoners escape during riot in which 3 prisoners are killed “The prisoners who rioted also damaged the wings where they are housed and set various objects on fire.” This article is by Fox News, so one can judge its version of events by the fact that it dares to state that Brazil ” has one quarter of the world’s prison population”. In fact, it has slightly more than ¼ of the US prison population which proportionate to the country’s total population is the highest in the world (see this ); the US has 560,000 more prisoners than China., with less than ¼ of China’s population. So when this article states “The state government said in a statement that the dead prisoners were murdered by their own cellmates” we know that that is the official version, which may or may not be correct.
US, Alaska: prison riot “A Lemon Creek Correctional Center dorm has been left uninhabitable and all inmate visitations have been stopped after a prison riot Monday night. According to sources within the prison, the incident was sparked by an unexpected source: phone service….The riot has exposed inmates’ agitation over a phone system that charges them far more than typical rates, then returns some of the revenue to the Department of Corrections. “This is clearly so somebody just can get rich,”… For three calls totaling 28 minutes of talk with one inmate at Lemon Creek, the Empire was charged $3.51. If the newspaper pays by credit card, the bill will rise to $10.46, or 37 cents per minute. That’s more expensive than calling a landline phone in South Africa from Juneau with AT&T. In public documents, Securus stated that the fees are necessary for it to earn a profit… To talk for more than 20 seconds, the person receiving a call must register with Securus, handing over name, address, email and telephone number to a permitted database. It’s a confusing process that took the Empire 20 minutes to accomplish. Inmates can’t leave voicemail messages, dial for an operator or directory assistance or use 1-800 numbers. They can’t do three-way calls or use services like Vonage or Google Phone to get around the cost of long-distance calls. All calls are monitored, and the prison or Securus can end them at any time. One such call to the Empire was abruptly stopped with a message: “This call is being terminated — no third-party calls are allowed.” For that 16-second conversation, the Empire was charged $1.17….“In reality, the long-distance rate quadrupled,”…The phone system wasn’t the only source of contention, of course. There were other contributing factors before Monday’s riot, sources said, including a “phase program” that allowed inmates to earn rights and privileges previously granted for free….The spark into violence, however, does appear to have come from the latest development with the phone system. Sometime between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Monday, calls were abruptly stopped, and inmates became agitated by the fact that they would be paying for those disrupted calls…. In E dorm (also called E-mod), inmates gathered and organized. They may have attempted to lure the corrections officer into the dorm from for an ambush, but inmates deny this. About 11:15 p.m., an inmate wrapped a towel with eyeholes in it around his face. Events escalated as inmates covered E-dorm’s cameras and uprooted a table bolted to the dorm’s concrete floor. The table was wedged against the door into the dorm, and a window into the dorm was broken. Bathroom partitions and bunk mattresses were ripped from their places and shoved against the broken window in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent corrections officers from flooding the dorm with pepper spray through the resulting hole.”
UK, Durham: prisoners sunbathe on prison roof and wreck a bit of it This trashy article illustrates a typical journalistic contempt for basic human desires – so what else is new?
UK, Manchester: 3rd day of rooftop protest by prisoner gets support from demo outside prison walls Morehere “A protest party complete with DJ and fireworks was set up on Monday night in the street outside the Victorian prison”
UK, Cambridgeshire: one-man prison riot “The cell was flooded with water and according to reports “a series of small fires” were started.”
Spain, Valencia: migrants riot at detention centre (6th – 7th Sept.)
UK, Flintshire: prison construction site blocked by anti-prison demonstrators “Prisons are part of the problem. They are abusive places used by the state to control and threaten us.”
Syria, Hama: hundreds of prisoners riot against conditions “…furniture and equipment ransacked and beds turned into barricades to sealed iron gates…. inmates, mostly held on terror-related charges and for joining protests against the state, took control of several major wards and ransacked prison quarters.“
US, California: riot follows prisoner’s killing of Hugo Pinell, one of the San Quentin 6 politicised prisoners of 1971, a man who’d killed a screw Though this is pure speculation – maybe this was manipulated by screws…? And this seems to confirm something like that…More here “This is revenge,” declared his close friend, fellow Black Panther veteran Kiilu Nyasha, on Hard Knock Radio Aug. 13. “They hated him as much as George Jackson. They beat him constantly, kept him totally isolated for 46 years – no window, no sunlight – but they could never break him, and that’s why they hated him. “The only way he survived was that this man was full of love….He participated in the hunger strikes and applauded the Agreement to End Hostilities, authored by 16 of his comrades, Black, Brown and White, and dated Aug. 12, 2012, three years to the day before he was killed. It has nearly erased racial violence from California prisons.“
Eire, Dublin: prisoners take to the roof, riot “…two inmates remained on the prison roof staging a protest. They accessed the roof at around 11am, followed some time later by a linked protest at the B Yard in the west Dublin prison. Some 60 inmates in the yard refused to leave at 12pm. Prison authorities identified a core of 15 ringleaders, who …demolished soccer goals and used the metal posts, along with security razor wiring, as improvised weapons.” At the same time some of the prisoners take hostage and beat up an Afghani refugee.
France, Yvelines: report of designer clothes manufacturer-cum-prisoner using his past to gain street cred and trying to calm down angry youths after constant on-off mini-riots “This man in his thirties is known to all here. He is extremely active on social networks and in recent months has launched his clothing brand called “For youv”. All this from … his prison cell where he’s been incarcerated for almost thirteen years after a series of robberies. “My past allows me to be credible to those kids”, says youv, who was given permission to organise a barbecue [presumably outside prison] “Burning cars, throwing stones at the police, I did it! And today I am in prison. And believe me, prison is not really an example. ” Sitting in the middle of a group of teenagers consuming a merguez sausage or emptying a coke, the young man commands respect. The kids listen in silence, in awe…. The discussion continues for several minutes. The tone is never preachy. He warns, pacifies, without pointing the finger at one youth or another. “I do not want to appoint blame, I do not want to be in a confrontation. I just use my little notoriety to make things happen in my own way, ” insists youv. An intervention that could possibly bear fruit amongst this very young audience who are not very sensitive to traditional prevention messages.“
Algeria, Ouargla: youths attack courtroom and cops after arrests on previous day’s riot “…Comrades [of those previously arrested] … moved to Ouargla Court demanding their immediate release, without further ado …Young people decided to throw stones and other objects at the windows of the court in a sudden escalation of violence which sparked a forceful intervention from the security forces to deter attackers from crossing the boundary wall of the court and to protect the public building. The clashes lasted a good half hour before the youths were pushed outside the perimeter of the court which also has several banks, tax management, the headquarters of the wilaya [kind of prefecture] and the operational area of the army ….The authorities had to close their doors, several businesses pulled down their shutters before the street regained its composure.“
Argentina, Tucuman: 20 youths attack police station with sticks and stones, burn or smash 3 cars belonging privately to cops and 2 hijacked vehicles According to this, this attack was made by friends and family of someone who died of asphyxiation in a prison.
US, Arizona: July 4th celebrations prison-style “Problems began July 2 in the medium-security Hualapai Unit of the Arizona State Prison Complex-Kingman when inmates were “non-compliant and caused significant damage” in two housing areas”
US: Arizona: 2nd night of riot in prison “In Wednesday’s incident, a small group of minimum security inmates were chasing down an inmate when prison staff intervened to stop the assault, Wilder said. The inmates assaulted the officers, and six officers suffered minor injuries.,.. it took a couple of hours to get the prisoners back to their housing units…Thursday’s incident involved many more inmates and turned into a full-blown riot involving an unknown number of inmates…. It took many hours for prison staff and Department of Corrections officers to bring the situation under control, and the prison wasn’t secured until early Friday morning, Wilder said. Three guards were hurt.”
Mexico, Mexico City: prisoners’ hunger strike now in 6th day Pi writes: “A declaration on the sixth day of hunger strike of the “Informal Coordination of Prisoners in Resistance” by Fernando Bárcenas, an anarchist jailed and accused of having burnt a coca-cola tree during a movement against the rise of metro ticket prices. What is pretty interesting is that this new declaration (several have been issued during these last days) clearly states they’re against all prisons and the distinction between “political prisoners” and others.” See 27/6/15 for original declaration.
Australia, Melbourne: there’s no smoking ban without fire “Fire crews have returned to the scene of a blaze at the Metropolitan Remand Centre in Ravenhall, a day after inmates rioted and lit fires at the prison. At least nine CFA and MFB crews were dispatched to the prison about 11am on Wednesday. The incident was declared over and the fire labelled “safe” about 12.20pm…Five inmates were injured when police clashed with as many as 50 armed prisoners in an operation to end the riot about 3am. Heavily armed police used tear gas, the dog squad and other tactics to quell the riot. Rampaging inmates lit fires, rammed an exit door, and penetrated a control room after guards came under attack at 12.20pm on Tuesday at the prison, 20 kilometres west of Melbourne. …Guards first came under attack at 12.20pm on Tuesday. Up to 300 inmates are believed to have been involved in the riot, but many surrendered to police or prison staff as the situation escalated. More than 100 were still on the loose in the centre at nightfall. They had armed themselves with makeshift weapons found in prison workshops, including metal bars and planks of wood….Several vehicles were believed to have been torched in the rampage, while a fence that divided rival outlaw motorcycle gangs was ripped down at the prison, 20 kilometres west of Melbourne.” More here. “Heavily-armed police quelled a riot involving up to 300 inmates at an Australian jail on Wednesday over the introduction of a smoking ban, with a handful of prisoners injured. Melbourne’s Metropolitan Remand Centre remains in lockdown after the 15-hour disturbance when doors were smashed, fires lit and some inmates armed themselves with sticks and iron bars from the jail’s agricultural sheds. Three prison staff received minor injuries and five inmates were taken to hospital, some with dog bites, after police moved in during the early hours of the morning, reportedly using tear gas. Brett Collins, a former prisoner and spokesman for Justice Action, an advocacy group targeting abuse of authority, called the ban “bullying” and “a denial of their rights”. “People are just totally outraged… they have very little to lose” Nearly $8m. worth of damage to state infrastructure “The protest… has on Thursday been described as causing the biggest damage bill from a jail outbreak in Australia….”Everything in there is destroyed, including prisoner files over 20 years old,” the source said. “From what I understand, there is not one thing in that prison that didn’t get broken. I think it was well thought out.”” This report shows that authorities knew that prisoners would riot
“Today, June 27th, a hunger strike of several prisoners in different prisons of Mexico City has begun. Strike demands focus on…torture and abuse in prisons and the actions of the Commission on Human Rights in the City, the institution which is the prison authorities’ accomplice . Likewise the business conducted with inmates through their sexual exploitation is denounced.
Beyond the differences in methods and strategies (for us prison should not be improved or reformed, but it must be destroyed), in solidarity with the comrades in struggle they …call upon all related organizations, groups and individuals to express solidarity.
Collective Hunger Strike
Informal coordination of Prisoners in Resistance.
For the following demands:
1) Cease the abuse and torture in all prisons either by word or deed.
2) Termination of the silent repression exercised by the institution in collaboration with the CDHDF (Human Rights Commission of the Federal District)
3) For the people to stop all contact with jailers and / or officials who have been denounced for mistreatment.
4) Total rejection of the austerity measures that are being implemented worldwide, in prisons by various tendencies of economic and political interests.
5) Application of the Istanbul Protocol on torture to all inmates.
6) Clarification and withdrawal of penal article 148/201H from the sentenced comrade Jose Santiago Hernández who was sentenced and imprisoned for eight months before reaching his age of majority.
7) That due respect and consideration to the families of the prisoners when they are in the prisons is maintained.
8) No more illicit enrichment, based on the exploitation of prisoners.
9) No more illicit enrichment by officials based on the sexual exploitation of women and men interned in prisons.
10) Breaking the relationship of complicity between the administration and the medical unit; no more neglect and inhuman treatment.
11) Open more opportunities for cultural recreation and artistic projection and paid work for prisoners; the few that exist are elitist and conditioned by the administration.
12) Waiver of staff who actively shapes the Technical Board in all prisons in Mexico City and generate the necessary mechanisms to eliminate corruption and authoritarianism of management and custody.
13) Let us not be judged or repressed for the activities that we protest about because we have always been incited by the malfunction of the penal institution.
14) No more violations of personal data and correspondence for the purpose of extortion, kidnapping, intimidation and confiscation of information material.
Also we denounce the confinement and incommunicado detention that is practiced against fellow prisoner Jessi Alejandro Montaño and we’ll carry out a day of struggle and resistance to make our mark against ignorance and our rejection of prison authority. Side by side with our brothers and sisters, face to face with the enemy!”
Belgium, Nivelles: 7 prisoners in rooftop protest “Their anger is linked to the recent arrival of a fellow prisoner, who enjoys the favours of the prison governor.”
Canada, Ontario: 6 hour riot in maximum insecurity prison ” Inmates at the maximum security facility in Penetanguishene, Ont., erupted into a random riot Thursday, destroying meal hatch doors, cell doors, phones, duct work and garbage bins in a six-hour incident that was only resolved when a tactical team used pepper spray.”
French Guyana: 2nd prison mutiny in 2 days Prisoners refuse to return to their cells, demand improved health conditions (there are rats and coackroaches in the cells), more interesting social activity, end of abuse by guards. More prisoners (189) in protest than Tuesday’s (see 16/6/15).
Trinidad & Tobago, Arouca: prison riot “Five officers were badly beaten … Officers were stabbed and one officer’s teeth were broken. T&T Guardian was informed that the prisoners were in possession of weapons crafted by the prisoners. These include shanks made out of tooth brushes and metal objects. The prisoners have barricaded themselves in an area in the prison. The officer said the prisoners have created shields to prevent the officers from harming them if the riot police were to enter. …many prison officers do not want to engage with the prisoners because they fear for their lives. Members of the Riot squad are standing by at Golden Grove to assist if prison officers are unable to contain the situation. A prisoner informed T&T Guardian that the riot ensued following an incident where the prisoners were soaked with water and an Imam was badly beaten inside the prison”
UK, Rutland: 6 hour riot by about 100 prisoners “Up to 60 prison inmates attacked officers and started fires during a six hour riot at the weekend…It would appear there were over 100 prisoners involved in the riot”……More here “A prison officer has been hurt in a riot in Rutland involving scores of inmates. Police and fire crews were called in after small blazes were lit during the disturbance. Order was not restored until screws specially-trained in brutal methods of inflicitng pain intervened. The defender of ruling class “justice” who was assaulted was treated in hospital and discharged on Sunday night, while four prisoners were taken to hospital after a savage beating, and two screws were treated for smoke inhalation. Around 30 inmates have been transferred to other prisons far away from friends and relatives to be beaten by cowards in uniform. A Prison Service PR manipulator said: “A serious incident of insubordinate lack of servilitiy on one wing at HMP Stocken was resolved by a specially trained gang of ruling class protection racketeers. ….” [translated from the original Massmediatese]
US, Missouri: 31 railway wagons carrying coal derailed – part of solidarity with anarchist prisoners, apparently (see discussion below this latter article on how useful/stupidly dangerous such actions are/could be)
France, Val d’Oise: small deliberate fire, screws attacked, in prison…Limoges: 10 Eurovia-Vinci construction engines destroyed by arson Damage is estimated at over a million euros. Threats have been made and sent to various companies involved in building the airport of Notre-Dame-des-Landes. Among the listed companies, there were Eurovia and Vinci. Vinci is particularly involved in the construction of prisons.
Brazil, Rio: 2 die in prison riot over overcrowding More here “The riot broke out in the Governador Valadares prison of the Minas Gerais state during visiting hours on Saturday morning and ended after a 21-hour standoff, leaving two inmates dead, according to the local Social Defense Secretariat. During the incident, a group of inmates broke security railings and invaded administration offices to protest the overcrowding of the prison, which, with a capacity for 290, holds some 800 inmates. In the end police launched an operation to regain control, using tear gas bombs and a helicopter”
US, Florida: riot in teenage girls’ detention centre “One of the girls managed to steal keys from a member of the detention staff, enabling them to open doors inside the facility and allowing the other defendants to engage in multiple counts of battery”
US, California: 200 prisoners riot (not at all clear what this was about or what happened)
UK, Wrexham: engines of construction equipment for site of proposed new prison (Europe’s 2nd largest) destroyed “The mega-prison, if built, will cage more than 2100 human beings at any one time. Multiple large diggers and construction equipment had their engines destroyed. Slogans were sprayed on the half-built prison fences including ‘Fuck Lend Lease’ and ‘Fire to the Prisons’. This is a warning to any company large or small that that is involved in the North Wales Prison Project, or any other prison building scheme that the state initiates. You are a target and you will feel the venom of the working classes fighting back.”
Russia, Bashkortostan: 2nd prison riot against phoney enquiry into 1st “More than 100 inmates held at a maximum-security prison in the city of Salavat in Bashkortostan, also known as Bashkiria, broke windows and wreaked havoc, some of them climbing onto the roof on the security guards’ dormitory”
US, Nebraska: prison riot as 2 prisoners are found dead“Several disruptions followed in various housing units, resulting in small fires and property damage, prison officials said. … “The inmates have taken over the prison.” More here“We’ve pretty much taken the whole prison,” Frank told the newspaper. He said that no prison employees were inside the housing unit and described the scene, saying: “The ceilings are fallen. There’s drywall on fire. There’s cameras torn down,” according to the Journal Star.Foster told the Omaha World-Herald that inmates had gained access to an office with a phone. At some point during the disturbance, a second inmate was injured by a rubber projectile”
Russia, Nizhny Novgorod: riot of prisoners with TB “…at least one prisoner has been killed and 15 injured as a result of a riot at a prison facility for inmates with tuberculosis…eight inmates were seriously injured….Authorities said about 100 inmates set fire to two facilities on May 6, smashed security cameras, broke furniture, and attacked other prisoners…. tuberculosis-afflicted prisoners have been forced to work up to 12 hours a day there.”
Lebanon, Beirut: prison riot “…Asked about what triggered the riots, he replied: “The inhumane overcrowding at the block is one of the reasons.” The block is harboring 1,100 prisoners, while it only has the capacity for 400, he revealed. …. “The riot is over and it will not reoccur,” he pledged. The first riot at block D took place on Friday where inmates seized the master key at the facility and opened all doors at the building. They also briefly held hostage a number of officers. Roumieh, the oldest and largest of Lebanon’s overcrowded prisons, has witnessed sporadic prison breaks and escalating riots in recent years as inmates living in poor conditions demand better treatment.”
Greece, Athens: anarchists torch cars, fight cops in movement supporting anarchist prisoners (video here – tasteless, horrifying, shocking, nauseating …but that’s enough about the music – the video is interesting) “Deputy Citizen Protection Minister Giannis Panousis requested Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ intervention in order to address the riots issue, while he even hinted that he may resign if Tsipras does not take any action. “The Prime Minister must decide which side he wishes to support and which he will leave behind,” he said. Panousis also stressed that the anti-authoritarians want someone to die so that they will be able to repeat the episodes that occurred in 2008 after the death of Alexis Grigoropoulos.”
Greece: various public buildings occupied by anarchists in different parts of the country “Around 20 people entered the courtyard of the parliament building in central Syntagma square…. they left after about five minutes. They scattered flyers and chanted slogans including for the immediate release of “Xiros”. Savas Xiros is serving multiple life terms for his role in the November 17 group, which killed Greek, US and British diplomats before being dismantled in 2002. …Protesters also called for the end to high security prisons, which the new Syriza government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has vowed to scrap. Small groups took over Syriza offices in the southern town of Patras, the office of a governing lawmaker in the Cretan capital Heraklion as well as the town hall in a suburb of Athens…Protesters also occupied part of a university in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city, and have been occupying the offices of one of Athens’ main universities since Monday.” (video here) It should be pointed out that there are many currents of “anarchism” in Greece, including Leninoid-type shitheads who totally oppose looting. Also, see this mainstream journalistic take on these occupations “…there are signs government patience with the protests is finally wearing thin. The prolonged seizure of the Athens’ administrative building since March 30 prompted exasperated employees to stage a march last Wednesday outside their occupied offices. …”This hasn’t happened for years now — not in this manner,” said university vice-rector Thomas Sphicopoulos of the occupation. “We can’t work, and the university was already in a very difficult situation due to budget cuts.” Other demonstrating employees were more pointed in their anger at the government for not intervening. “Where is the respect for liberty, and where is the state?” fumed one university staffer who asked to remain anonymous.”
A friend in Greece wrote, referring to the above link: “The demonstration of the “exasperated university employees” against the main university occupation mentioned in the link you sent was actually very small. Most of the employees were either indifferent or supportive of the anarchists (without taking part in the occupation).”
Australia, New South Wales: small riot at detention centre “Thursday’s resolution to the disruption inside the centre came after several days of rising tension. TVs were ripped from wall mountings and at least one fire lit in a rubbish bin.”
Honduras, Tegicigalpa: 3 prisoners killed by cops etc. during prison riot “About 400 officers and military troops sent to the San Pedro Sula prison to restore order were met by gunfire from within the facility and pelted with stones and other projectiles, said a spokesman for the Honduras National Police”
UK, Durham: mini-riot in young offenders prison “…inmates reportedly began throwing pool balls and lighting fires during the disturbance….prison guards had to withdraw because of the trouble….”The prisoners began throwing pool balls at them. A couple of inmates were injured and also a considerable amount of damage caused.”
US, Texas: 100s of prisoners make prison “uninhabitable” after seizing part of the prison “An official says as many as 2,800 inmates will be moved to other facilities one day after several hundred prisoners seized control of part of a federal prison in South Texas. Inmates were participating in a protest that escalated into throwing objects, burning bedding, and destroying bullet-proof tent structures…In addition, correctional officers released a “chemical agent” to disperse the unruly crowd that were ineffective due to wind conditions…..U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokesman Ed Ross says in a statement that the Willacy County Correctional Center in Raymondville is now “uninhabitable due to damage caused by the inmate population.” … a peaceful resolution may take days or weeks to resolve….The inmates being held at the facility are described as “low-level” offenders who are primarily immigrants in the U.S. illegally.” More information here….And here
US, Texas: about 2000 prisoners “riot” “The disturbance began Friday morning when inmates at the Willacy County Correctional Center refused to report to work or appear for breakfast…some of the prisoners were protesting medical services at the facility. The prison, located in Raymondville, about 40 miles northeast of the border town of McAllen, has been used to hold immigrant detainees…Soon after that, several inmates broke out of their housing units and went out into the recreation yard. About 2,000 prisoners are believed to have joined the protest…Officers deployed tear gas, and two officers and three inmates sustained minor injuries…“We are attempting to speak with the offenders to bring a peaceful solution to this incident,” Arnita said late Friday night. “The facility remains secured with no danger to the public.”…Earlier in the day, the riot prompted school officials to place three nearby schools on lockdown.” More here “Spence said the situation could last the whole weekend. “It’s calm right now, but with caution,” Spence said. “It could explode any minute.”…many offenders broke out of the housing structures and went to the recreation yard. Inmates set fire to three of the 10 prison tents, causing minor damage, officials said. …“There’s been some shots fired. Guards on top of the tower were firing. What they were using as ammunition, I have no idea,” Spence told the Valley Morning Star….In June 2014, the American Civil Liberties Union released a study that found inmates of these little-known prisons suffer from a lack of medical care….Prisoners interviewed by the ACLU complained of delayed medical care, guards using solitary confinement to punish those who are ill or who complained about squalid and cramped living conditions, and interference by prison officials with inmates trying to correspond with or meet with lawyers, the report says. Most of those in custody are charged either with illegally re-entering the country or with nonviolent drug crimes”
France, Bordeaux: 45 JCDecaux advertising panels smashed (JCDecaux is a company involved directly in the super-exploitation of prisoners)
Brazil, Recife: prisoner and prison guard killed during riot “The violence erupted in a Recife jail when an orderly protest broke down, and was brought under control only after police arrived. One officer died of a bullet wound in hospital, while details surrounding the inmate’s death were not released. ….Gunfire and explosions were heard coming from inside the prison, and G1 Globo newsportal showed a helicopter with an armed official flying overhead. Brazilian jails have faced a string of riots in recent months. The system’s 563,000 inmates make Brazil’s prison population the fourth-largest after the United States, China and Russia, according Amnesty International….”
Spain, Barcelona: demonstration against state arrests of anarchists – windows of banks, hotels and posh shops broken, barricades of containers; demos in several other cities, including Madrid, Zaragoza, Burgos, Castellón and Segovia
Greece, Athens: anti-state riot in support of anarchist hunger striking prisoner (slightly absurd but kind of funny video here)
One of the reasons bus shelters are constantly attacked is the fact that they’re constructed by JCDecaux, which exploits prisoners (JCDecaux also use the bus shelters for advertising other commodities, from where they obviously make massive profits)
Nigeria, Lagos: major prison protest against governor; 5 escaped prisoners killed “… five inmates of the prison who managed to escape through the fence were killed….the aggrieved inmates started agitating against the way the out going Deputy Controller managed their affairs. They reportedly accused him of being high-handed. It was learnt that during the process, the inmates started stoning their top officials, leading to pandemonium in and around the prison. Eyewitnesses said they also held some of the officials hostage before embarking on the destruction of some offices inside the prison including that of the chief warder which was looted and razed down.” (more here)
US, Nashville: riot in juvenile prison, 6 escape (video) “Juvenile offenders, armed with sticks and poles, busted out of their dorms. Six teens became a mob of two-dozen. Swat teams posted outside watched some rioters shoot off fire extinguishers. Others chased away and attacked unarmed guards. Two staff members were hurt…. James Henry is the commissioner of Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services. He said for the second time this week, teens got loose by kicking out aluminum panels under windows….”When they came out of their rooms they breached the door and they got out. They were able to knock those doors out again because they’d done it the night before very quickly.” On Monday night, thirty-two teens escaped the same facility. They busted out of their dorms, pulled up a section of chain link fence, and ran for a nearby highway. Six of those escapees remain at large.”
Brazil, Parana: prison rioters take 2 guards hostage, apparently kill 4 prisoners, beheading 2 of them “the food is bad, there are no lawyers to work their trials, no basic hygiene materials”
prison rooftop protest, Parana, Brazil
Brazil, Bahia, Amargosa: after cops kill a 1 year-old girl, crowds seize the police station, take the cops’ weapons, liberate the 16 prisoners there, torch the station, then burn 30 motorbikes and 19 other vehicles “The violence forced the police chief, judge and prosecutor of Amargosa, located in Bahia state, to take refuge in a hotel.”
Greece: hunger strike against maximum security jail by 3800 prisoners...solidarity demo…here it claims that the strike is being followed by 90% of prisoners, though I suspect that’s an exaggeration; it also mentions that a banking agency was attacked in Volos in solidarity with the prisoners (June 6th) …list of videos concerning Greek prisons
Australia, Christmas Island: week-long protest by asylum seekers shut down by authorities (more here)…for more about asylum seekers in Australia, see this
US, Alabama: prisoner trying to organise prison strike “taken out of his cell … placed in solitary, without clothing or a bed, in retaliation… ” Phone warden Carter Davenport on (001) 205-467-6111 to tell him what you think of his slave empire…though one has to wonder what kind of tactical considerations this prisoner was thinking of by announcing the proposed strike on the internet before it was supposed to take place, as if it wasn’t obvious that this would allow the authorities to make sure it never happened and to victimise him.
US, Alabama: prisoners announce impending strike against “slave empire” “We decided that the only weapon or strategy … that we have is our labor, because that’s the only reason that we’re here…They’re incarcerating people for the free labor.” (article here on some aspects of why prison rate is so high in Alabama…and this IWW statement shows some of the horrendous miseries of prison life there: “The conditions in Alabama prisons are horrendous, packing twice as many people as the 16,000 that can be housed “humanely”, with everything from black mold, brown water, cancer causing foods, insect infestations, and general disrepair. They are also run by free, slave labor, with 10,000 incarcerated people working to maintain the prisons daily, adding up to $600,000 dollars a day, or $219,000,000 a year of slave labor if inmates were paid federal minimum wage, with tens of thousands more receiving pennies a day making products for the state or private corporations.” However, it has this bizarre sentence: “the struggle of these brave human beings is the same as the millions of black, brown, and working class men, women, and youth struggling to survive a system they are not meant to succeed within.”, which implies that “black”, “brown” and “working class” are separate categories., though perhaps it’s a typo – maybe they unintentionally missed out “white” before “working class”.
UK, Wolverhampton: riot in prison previously known for rooftop protest (“incident resolved“) …more detailed information here and here
Israel: 100s of undocumented African migrants flee detention centre (Sunday) to march and demonstrate (Monday)…..and next day (today) dozens of them demonstrate in Jerusalem outside PM’s office (more here)
US, Nebraska: protesting a policy limiting the number of prisoners allowed in the yard at one time, 33 prisoners at Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln refuse to return to their cells after dinner and set small fires in trash cans.
-KHAS TV (no link)
US, Arkansas: frustrated inmates in C-Pod at Baxter County Jail in Mountain Home, Arkansas broke sprinkler heads, lights, and a window, and flooded their cells.
-The Baxter Bulletin (no link for this)
UK: report of 189 prison uprisings in 2012; screws moan about their lack of monopoly of violence… It’s only by the grace of the Devil that a guard hasn’t been killed ….
US, Missouri: report of hunger strike by prisoners Another report (no link) said, “Fifteen inmates at Potosi Correctional Center in Missouri went on a week-long hunger strike to protest neglect, sanitation issues, and physical abuse by guards. Thirty-five inmates there also signed a petition in support of the strikers’ cause.”
US, Illinois: 40 prisoners at Pontiac Correctional Center go on hunger strike ” A Chicago activist group says the prisoners have no heat, and they’re being denied personal hygiene supplies. They’re also upset they have to pay a fee to use nail clippers shared by all inmates. Correctional officers say they’re monitoring the health of all prisoners refusing to eat”. Apparently a radio report said something along the following lines: “Upset over the current grievance officer, inadequate sanitary supplies, no programs for prisoners in long-term segregation, and a poor recreation environment…prisoners at Pontiac Correctional Center in Illinois went on hunger strike.”
Brazil: prison uprising repressed – at least 10 prisoners killed (some reports say that these killings were caused by gang rivalries…who knows? but this report implies that it was a mixture of both the authorities and the gangs that did it, but claims that in the local town where the prison is situated, 7 buses were set alight in relation to this riot )
USA, Florida: riot at juvenile detention centre Officials at Gulf Coast Treatment Center juvenile detention facility in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida reported rioting youth there threw chairs, flipped tables, damaged jail property, and used a seized staffer’s radio to communicate with guards.
At the age of 19, I had my only very short-lived experience of being imprisoned. I’d been arrested for “insulting behaviour” putting on a “guerrillla theatre”-type agit-prop play outside a school in Kings Cross, which caused a semi-riot. We were packed off to Ashford Remand Centre, even though our parents had turned up in court to put up surety for the bail which most of us had been granted (the only one of us that wasn’t was a couple of years older than us, the only one of us who was from a working class background – he went to Brixton for a week before bail was granted). Ashford, though technically a “remand centre” was no different from an ordinary prison – prison gate, barbed wire on the fencing, etc. There we were made to have a public cough ‘n’ drop medical inspection. In fact, this was the most humiliating moment for me – being forced to undress in a hallway surrounded by cells consisting solely of bars (no walls) and being examined naked whilst being stared at by several screws and prisoners whilst my balls were held by a doctor to see if I’d had a hernia or something (being a virgin probably made me feel even more anxious about being naked in front of so many people). And then made to have a semi-public bath. We then had to wear prison clothes: my trousers were far too big – I had to permanently hold them to stop them falling down (no belts allowed), and my shoes were far too small, cramping my toes.
The cell smelled half the time of piss – someone had thrown out his slpping out pot out of the cell above and the piss had hit the outward opening window, hinged at the bottom, and the piss had run back down into my cell. Unable to sleep due to the proximity of London airport and a railway line (though the window was too far up to look out of), plus the ever-echoing sound of slamming doors or footsteps along the concrete corridor, I somehow half-composed the following in my mind (no pens or paper and only a Western, with half the pages torn out, to read) and wrote it up properly as soon as I got out – a slightly pretentious poetic-type of attempt at something influenced by the surrealists, but which, despite its literary rhetorical style, also genuinely expresses some life-affirming emotions:
SOCIETY IS A PRISON – OPEN UP THE PRISONS!
There is no freedom for the enemies of freedom, the slaves of their hate and fear of freedom. Inside the corridors of tyranny the jackboots, the truncheons, the barred windows, the barred wire, the barbed wire, the 40 foot high double electrified fencing – are all screaming out the admittance of THEIR failure to exterminate OUR minds. Their judgements, their amnesties, their reprieves, their mercy – are the judgements, the amnesties, the reprieves, the mercy of the dead to the living – the dead beckoning the living to join them in the graveyard. Soon, from the warm comfort of their coffins, six foot under, they will wake up to find their nightmares becoming reality – obscene words painted on their gravestones, shit smeared over the epitaph, and finally their coffins disinterred and thrown into the burning astreets. Soon freedom, the imagination, bruised, castrated, decapitated, buried alive in the dungeons of Pentonville and Ashford – soon, the imagination running riot, shall rise up, shatter the walls and gates, smash the locks, burn down the factories of pain and misery, and seize total power! The dictatorship of the imagination!
It was only 24 hours, but when it’s your first time in prison and you’ve got no idea how long you’ll be there, and you’ve never known anyone who’s been inside, it was a little worrying, though it was the boredom I remember most, because we were kept isolated for most of the time. I was so naïve, I remember being really outraged at the fact that teenagers were kept in prison without bail for 6 months or more before trial, at which they were often let off. (see this, for the context of this arrest and the subsequent trial).
2. On July 14th 2013, I was in St.Louis with my daughter at a demo called the day after George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin’s killer, was found “not guilty”. This happened at the end of the demo:
So it’s pissing down and we all loudly head back toward what I somehow thought was the town courthouse, and I go first into the little vestibule banging a saucepan very noisily. Everybody else seemed a little hesitant, like I’d stepped over an invisible barrier that everybody normally respected. But then this was the vestibule of the city jail, and not merely a courthouse as I’d assumed. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. The noise we were making was deafening, and seemed to echo into the area beyond the glass doors we were not going through. I suggested going further than the vestibule. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread, urging others to join them. Ignorance is bliss. A masked guy (Zorro? the Lone Ranger? Billy the Kid?) ran in and chucked the only thing that moved – a floor mat. When he returned a bit later, and threw in some flowers that he’d just picked from outside the jail, a black woman got upset – “This is meant to be a peaceful demonstration – Trayvon Martin’s family insisted it should be peaceful”. What sad/mad times these are when throwing flowers is somehow thought of as not peaceful enough.
“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread
Angels never go to war – they masturbate instead”
We then retreat from the jail as we get pushed out by armed guards. A few minutes later the courthouse is surrounded by heavily armoured riot cops with their sticks at the ready, the TV cameras reappearing for the first time since the downpour. We all go off back to our cars, and then off to a birthday party of a woman friend of my friends. She was born on July 14th, famous in France for what happened in 1789 – Bastille Day – appropriate, since we’d “stormed” the city jail. Well, almost – the vestibule…still, it sounds good – “WE STORMED THE CITY JAIL!!! – ON BASTILLE DAY!!!!!”
– from here
The list below has only just begun (22/8/15) (see also the comments box below this page for some additional material):
Os Cangaceiros: freedom is the crime that contains all crimes About the prison revolts throughout France in 1985. Also this by Os Cangaceiros about the theft of architectural plans for prison construction by this group, and some parts of this which put both of the above in context.
This has some interesting things to say about the Attica uprising in September 1971.
This has a report of the 18 (at least) prisons that took part in an uprising in the UK in spring 1986 (see entries for 29/4/86 to 3/5/86 on pages 31 – 34 ). “The UK, 30th April 1986: THE MOST BEAUTIFUL EVENT OF THE YEAR. Between 18 and 21 prisons (depending on which figures you accept) involved in varying degrees of ‘disturbance’. 841 gaol places (just under 2% of the total) are destroyed….
Northeye prison, Sussex, UK – destroyed by rioting prisoners
Strangeways 1990: A serious disturbance The riot at Strangeways prison in Manchester, UK lasted for over 3 weeks during April 1986 and involved fires, the virtual destruction of the prison and a rooftop occupation. Despite being co-written by a member of a dreadful Leftist organisation (the Bolshevik organisation Revolutionary Communist Group) this book is an excellent read; its other author is an ex-prisoner.
Prison riots A pdf of accounts of various riots, including Strangeways, 1990 but also other riots around the world: Hull 1976, various riots in state capitalist Russia’s gulags, various US prison riots of the 20th century, Australian riots, etc.
Bad – the autobiography of James Carr – and this online version of the afterword. “Bad is one of many books written by prisoners who have become radicalised by their experiences in American jails. However it stands out from a lot of the others because it avoids portraying the prisoner as a passive victim of social injustice – and also refuses the martyr role that liberals and leftists try to impose on convicts as a vehicle for their own fantasies and careers (whether as social workers, sociologists, politicians or “professional revolutionaries”). Freed from all these limitations James Carr was able to tell his story, warts and all, without worrying about what might or might not alienate liberal/leftist support. So, there is no glossing over his involvement in gang rapes, protection rackets or any of the more horrific aspects of his daily life in jail – nor are there any useless guilty apologies for his past. (Anyway, the story of his development makes clear his eventual understanding of why the prison regime deliberately encouraged this kind of divisive behaviour.)” These are some recordings of Jimmy Carr which were made for the book. “James “Jimmy” Carr, founder of the Wolf Pack, an infamous prison gang in California during the 1960s, tells the story of life behind bars. Carr had unique experiences in the prison system as he was at seventeen still a juvenile and incarcerated in California’s oldest correctional facility. The incidents described on this album are taken from tapes Carr recorded as testimonial of his time in prison, and his evolution as a leader.”
L’envolée This is a regular anti-prison journal and website in French. Pi writes: It is one of the few papers addressing prison issues with a radical perspective but not focusing on anarchist or “political” prisoners.
This pdf is the latest issue, dedicated to Hafed Benotman, a rebel prisoner and writer who considered himself a thief. He wrote beautiful books: a moving autobiography, excellent novels, short stories, and was one of the co-founders of L’Envolée. This issue contains extracts of his works. He evokes outlaws’ and delinquents’ lives in many of his works, though there is much more than that. His reflections on prison life in France are brilliant, and even fundamental, as he evokes all its aspects: for example sexuality, or the role of Islam in diverting prisoners’ combativity and accepting their fate.
1Apparently in US prisons, you are effectively forced to join one gang or another, divided on racial grounds. Whites who do not join the nazis have to go to black or Latino gangs for protection, but this is risky. If the black or Latino gang refuses you, you lay yourself open to horrific brutality from the nazis, since they will automatically hear of what most of them would consider as “betraying your race”.
2 This comment was originally posted on a thread about prison guards going on strike. Significantly, it has disappeared down the memory hole. Though reactions to the comments exist, Fall Back has airbrushed his own reflections from the thread. It is one thing to be embarassed by one’s past, it is another to hide and falsify it. I should just add that, though I have no respect whatsoever for libcom admin, they do not – as far as I know- have a collective line on prisons, and I doubt if any of the others have voiced such a Leninist perspective as openly as Fall Back.