Hundreds of Florida inmates riot to protest prison conditions
On Wednesday, a riot at Florida’s Holmes Correctional Institution left almost every single dorm damaged and saw more than 400 inmates involved in a revolt that lasted until early Thursday morning.
Officers were called in from five different prisons as well as RRTs (Rapid Response Teams). While officers were armed, no shots were fired. According to the Florida Department of Corrections there was one inmate injury and no staff injuries.
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According to The Miami Herald, the riot came before a nationwide strike that is planned for Friday to protest what inmates say is violent and barbaric treatment in prisons.
For over a year, Florida’s prison system, which is the third largest system in the country, has been understaffed, which has resulted in several inmate takeovers in recent weeks as inmates express frustration about their forced confinement.
Apparently, the system is so understaffed that inmates are only allowed out when it is time to eat, because there are not enough staff members to guard them for recreation periods.
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Phillip A. Ruiz, an organizer for the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, told The Herald that the national protests would be nonviolent.
“They are participating in work stoppages, hunger strikes and sit-ins in protest of long-term isolation, inadequate healthcare, overcrowding, violent attacks and slave labor,” he explained.
Today happens to be the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison riot in New York, which left dozens of employees and inmates dead as prisoners protested living conditions. Ruiz says prison conditions haven’t changed much since then.
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