Salon has the exclusive on this story. This is a human rights and political story that bears watching.

Inmates at an Alabama prison plan to stage a work stoppage this weekend and hope to spur an escalating strike wave, a leader of the effort told Salon in a Thursday phone call from his jail cell.

“We decided that the only weapon or strategy … that we have is our labor, because that’s the only reason that we’re here,” said Melvin Ray, an inmate at the St. Clair correctional facility and founder of the prison-based group Free Alabama Movement. “They’re incarcerating people for the free labor.” Spokespeople for Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and his Department of Corrections did not respond to midday inquiries Thursday. Jobs done by inmates include kitchen and laundry work, chemical and license plate production, and furniture-making. In 2011, Alabama’s Department of Agriculture reportedly discussed using inmates to replace immigrants for agricultural work; in 2012, the state Senate passed a bill to let private businesses employ prison labor.

Inmates at St. Clair and two other prisons, Holman and Elmore, previously refused to work for several days in January. A Department of Corrections spokesperson told the Associated Press at the time that those protests were peaceful, and told that some of the inmates’ demands were outside the authority of the department to address. The state told the AP that a handful of inmates refused work, and others were prevented from working by safety or weather issues. In contrast, Ray told Salon the January effort drew the participation of all of St. Clair’s roughly 1,300 inmates and nearly all of Holman’s roughly 1,100. He predicted this weekend’s work stoppage would spread further and grow larger than that one, but also accused prison officials of hampering F.A.M.’s organizing by wielding threats and sending him and other leaders to solitary confinement. “It’s a hellhole,” he told Salon. “That’s what they created these things for: to destroy men.”

Read the whole article here:

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

How This Pope Is Remaking the GOP

April 18, 2014 news

Here’s a really interesting article about how those in the GOP are quietly changing their positions on some issues that are largely unpopular within their party. Those that are changing are doing so because Pope Francis has begun a long battle to shift the spotlight to issues like poverty and immigration. This is good news, [...]

Read the full article →

Companies May be Able to Say If You Clip The Coupon or Like Us on Social Media, You Can’t Sue Us

April 18, 2014 food

We first saw this article on, and then followed links to We’ve quoted the NYTimes article because it seems a bit more detailed and informative, however, both articles are linked at the bottom. The NYTimes continues with a discussion about other companies who have adopted similar policies. Take a look at the article, [...]

Read the full article →

First Artificial Red Blood Cells Made

April 18, 2014 health

It seems like we’ve had a great many breakthroughs in medicine over the last year or so, but this may well be one of the coolest when it comes to emergency surgery needs. Artificial red blood cells good enough to be transfused into patients have been developed for the first time. Scaled up to industrial [...]

Read the full article →

Pandora sued by record labels for copyright infringement

April 18, 2014 books

This will be interesting to watch. If songs recordered before 1972 are in fact protected by state laws, this could be big. And it may not just be for music, it may end up applying to books and other creative works, as well. Pandora has been hit with a copyright infringement lawsuit by major record [...]

Read the full article →