Believe it or not there is a national prison strike happening in the country. The striking prisoners even have a website. I assume the prisoners believe they are involved in some sort of war because they refer to themselves as “Rebels.” Or maybe they are a bunch of communists and socialists because they also speak of “comrades.”
Perhaps less shocking is the fact that U.S. Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman supports this strike. Maybe it’s the cynic in me, but I’m guessing she supports the prison strike because she feels a certain kinship with them given the fact her son and stepson did some time in jail.
Watson Coleman is so supportive of striking prisoners that she penned a piece in the Star-Ledger and is in favor of the list of the strikers’ 10 demands writing:
All of this is to draw attention to a list of 10 demands:
1. Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and prison policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women.
2. An immediate end to prison slavery. All persons imprisoned in any place of detention under U.S. jurisdiction must be paid the prevailing wage in their state or territory for their labor.
3. The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.
4. The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole. No human shall be sentenced to "death by incarceration" or serve any sentence without the possibility of parole.
5. An immediate end to the racial overcharging, over-sentencing, and parole denials of Black and brown humans. Black humans shall no longer be denied parole because the victim of the crime was white, which is a particular problem in southern states.
6. An immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws targeting Black and brown humans.
7. No imprisoned human shall be denied access to rehabilitation programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.
8. State prisons must be funded specifically to offer more rehabilitation services.
9. Pell grants must be reinstated in all states and territories.
10. The voting rights of all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, and so-called "ex-felons" must be counted. Representation is demanded. All voices count!
Each of these demands is important, reasonable and deserves to be heard.
I’m not going to answer this list point-by-point, mostly because it’s full of BS, but also because I have a day job and don’t want to waste too much time. Still, I have to ask, is she nuts?
Watson Coleman thinks prisoners should be paid “prevailing wage.” That’s crazy! How about they pay market rate for rent, the three meals a day they are served and any healthcare they receive.
No one should “serve any sentence without the possibility of parole.” Does this mean that Bonnie Watson Coleman believes murders should have a possibility of parole? That’s the way I read it.
Here’s an idea Bonnie – don’t do the crime of you don’t want to do the time.
Folks – if Bonnie Watson Colman’s op-ed isn’t enough to make you want to head over to the Kipnis for Congress website and give his campaign a donation, I don’t know what will.