A number of prisoners in Florida have gone on strike; the work stoppage began yesterday, on MLK Day, in what they’re calling a “nonviolent protest of conditions” known as Operation PUSH. Panagioti Tsolkas is an organizer with the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons.
“It’s a basic request for dignity and the base level human rights, which includes: Not being subjected to slavery, which was supposed to have ended in 1865 in this country. And not being ripped off on commissary products, on basic business standards. The expectation is that people expect — especially if they have for example a government contract – that they don’t rip off the people who they have a monopoly over, basically. And then the third is parole. And Florida has a pretty unique situation where it essentially did away with parole, giving people little to no hope for returning to their lives and their families. And also leading to overcrowded prisons, more violent conditions. ”
Here’s an interview Tsolkas provided with a prisoner who wants his identity kept secret in fear of retaliation from prison authorities: