Press Release: Prison Riot and Facility Lockdowns in Florida Precede Rally Planned at Coleman Prison in Support of Nationwide Prisoner Strike

For Immediate Release 9/9/2016

Prison Riot and Facility Lockdowns Precedes Rally Planned at Coleman Prison in Support of Nationwide Prisoner Strike

FLORIDA – Activists from across Florida have called for a demonstration at the largest federal prison in the country, FCC Coleman, to take place on Saturday, September 10, from 10 a.m. to noon, focused on calling attention to the modern-day slavery conditions, rampant abuse and toxic conditions that occur in prisons around the country. The address of FCC Coleman is 846 NE 54th Terrace, in Wildwood, located half-way between Orlando and Tampa.

The plan for a nationwide strike on September 9, the anniversary of the Attica prison uprising in New York, was initially announced earlier this year by prisoners in various states, including Alabama, Ohio, Virginia, Texas. It is unknown how many prisons will have people participating in the strike, but there are over 40 events and demonstrations planned outside prisons in dozens of cities and rural towns across the U.S.

Riots, work refusal and administrative lockdowns of entire facilities in Florida have already been reported. Other state and federal facilities have reported similar situations around the country.

The Coleman prison complex houses over 7,000 prisoners and is home to the largest prison factory in the entire country, primarily producing material goods such as furniture for government agencies nationwide.

Federal Prison Industries, also known as UNICOR, has over $34 million in contract obligation coming out of Bureau of Prison (BOP) facilities in Florida. This is three times higher than any other state in the country.

These workers are subjected to slave conditions based on the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution, which exempts prisoners of protection from slavery.

Over the past 10 years, UNICOR facilities have repeatedly been cited for unsafe working conditions and environmental hazards across the nation.

Additionally, FCC Coleman is surrounded by an industrial waste land of rock mines and their water storage pits, which have been known to contaminate regional water supplies in other areas of the state. Tainted water is a common problem in prisons around the country as well.

“Prisons all over the country are coupled with environmentally hazardous land uses that threaten the health of prisoners and local ecosystems,” said Panagioti Tsolkas, an organizer with the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons. “There is no way to justify forcing people to live in these conditions.”

The event at Coleman is being organized by the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons and the Gainesville branch of the IWW labor union.

The Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons aims to develop ties between the environmental movement and the movement against mass incarceration.

The IWW is the only labor union in the country which actively accepts prisoners as members.

Additional details about the demonstration can be found here, on the Facebook event page.

For more info on Sept 9, prison slavery, and toxic prison issues visit:

Contacts:

Panagioti Tsolkas, organizer, Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons, (561) 229-5221, FightToxicPrisons@gmail.com

James Schmidt, delegate, Gainesville Industrial Workers of the World, (352) 872-6352, GainesvilleIWW@gmail.com

Coleman FCC and rock mines

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