Inmates inside Florida’s prisons are fighting back against “modern day slavery.”
In an attempt to “cripple the prison system” through non cooperation, prisoners in the state of Florida began Operation PUSH on Monday in which prisoners will “laydown” and not report to their work assignments to protest a longstanding grievance against unpaid labor they provide.
“Our goal is to make the Governor realize that it will cost the state of Florida millions of dollars daily to contract outside companies to come and cook, clean, and handle the maintenance,” one prisoner said in a statement on The Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons’ website. “This will cause a total BREAK DOWN.”
A statement made by The Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons reported that thousands of prisoners in at least eight facilities have already taken part in the month-long Operation PUSH and plan to “stay down indefinitely” until all their concerns are addressed and lives of incarcerated people improve within the Florida Department of Corrections.
A few other concerns include lowering “outrageous canteen prices” and “reintroducing parole incentives to lifers,” according to The Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons.
Florida, along with a few other states, doesn’t offer pay to inmates for work assignments.
While Florida is the third-largest prison system in the U.S. with 97,000 inmates, according to state figures, many inmates believe that “prison slavery,” canteen price gouging and the nix of parole have “directly created the overcrowding that is responsible for the deplorable conditions in Florida prisons.”
“It’s time we reverse the psychology and STAND together,” prisoners wrote in a statement on The Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons’ website.
With more than 100 groups backing Operation PUSH, including Black Lives Matter, several local chapters of the Democratic Socialists of America and Florida State University’s NAACP chapter along with various religious affiliates, inmates are asking for all the support they can get from people on the outside to help carry out their voices on the inside.
“In order to become very effective we must use everything we have to show that we mean business,” prisoners wrote in a statement on The Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons’ website. “This is our chance to establish UNITY and SOLIDARITY. This is the strategy of Operation PUSH! A voice locked up is not a voice unheard!”