Georgia's massive inmate protest may be over for now, but the move to draw more attention to conditions in the country's crowded prison system is moving ahead earnestly. State officials lifted lock down orders at four prisons Wednesday after inmates clandestinely organized a non-violent protest against inhumane working conditions at several facilities. While the effort was predictably met with hostility from prison officials, several other groups also came out in support of the strike. Students at Oakland's Laney College wrote a letter to the inmates saying, in part, that they were inspired:
Every single day, prisoners face the same deplorable and unnecessarily punitive conditions that you have courageously decided to stand up against. For too long, this nation has chosen silence in the face of the gross injustices that our brothers and sisters in prison are subjected to. Your fight against these injustices is a necessary and righteous struggle that must be carried out to victory.
The good folks at Quirky Black Girls also helped circulate a petition in support of the strike, echoing inmates' demands for, among other things, decent health care, educational opportunities, and a living wage.
So what happens now? Protest organizers told reporters on Wednesday that they needed time off of lock down to do legal research and decide next steps. But what's clear is that their demands are now on display for everyone to see.
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