Building on the foundation of previous strikes and organized movements, people on the inside of Alabama prisons are now regrouping to continue the fight for abolition.

by Jared Ware, Prism

Hours before dawn on Sept. 26, the incarcerated workers who run the prison kitchens across Alabama were slated to begin their shifts when they refused to take up their posts, kicking off one of the largest prison strikes in U.S. history.

“Everything was electric from then on—[people] were excited and anxious for action,” said Antoine Lipscomb, a founding member of the Free Alabama Movement (FAM) who spoke with Prism Reports from Limestone Correctional Facility, one of the largest and deadliest prisons in the state, currently housing nearly 2,300 people.

A prison cell interior viewed through a peephole

The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) classifies 14 prisons within the state as “major facilities,” and there are almost 17,000 people incarcerated in those prisons. In a highly unusual move, the ADOC publicly confirmed the strike action across “all major facilities in the state” on the very first day of the strike. Acknowledging a prison strike and its scope goes against the prevailing wisdom in prison administration. In 2018, leading up to the national prison strike, prison associations advocated the use of disinformation campaigns when dealing with prisoner resistance to manage the disruption and discourage further participation.

While acknowledging the strike, a spokesperson for the governor said the demands of the incarcerated strikers were “unreasonable and would flat out not be welcomed in Alabama.” The strike demands included:

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