NATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH STRIKING PRISONERS September 9, 2016
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Their demands are clear. They are listed below. (These demands from FAM are Alabama-focused but the strike includes 40 prisons across 24 states)
The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) compels prisoners to work without pay, or for rates as low as 25 cents per hour. Prisoners have to pay fees in order to work. Their labor can be for the state, or for private companies. These exploitative conditions amount to prison slavery.
Repeal the Habitual Offender Statute. More than 8,000 people in Alabama are serving “enhanced mandatory sentences” under this law, which adds decades––and sometimes life without parole––to sentences for people with prior convictions, even if their current offense is relatively minor.
Expand the scope of the Alabama Innocence Inquiry Commission. This commission was originally proposed to investigate innocence claims by all felons, but was changed to only apply to death row claims.
Abolish mandatory Life Without Parole (LWOP) sentences for firsttime offenders. This would give first time offenders a chance at rehabilitation and alleviate inhumane conditions caused by overcrowding.
Reform the Alabama Parole Board. There is no clear criteria for parole eligibility. The parole board is arbitrary and biased.
Amend Alabama’s “drivebyshooting law” to apply only to gangrelated activity. This law has resulted in judicial overreach by enabling murder charges to be elevated to a capital offense based solely on the shooter’s location in a car, with or without proof of gang activity.
Implement the Education, Rehabilitation, and Reentry Preparedness Bill. This legislation, put forth by The Free Alabama Movement, would provide educational opportunities to all incarcerated people in Alabama, reduce the prison population to meet the actual capacity of ADOC, and other reforms.