Frequently, stories of inmates gaining cell phones and internet access have hit social media making for hilarious memes. However, in Florida, a group of prisoners used their mysterious internet access to address a much bigger issue than phone calls and pictures.
On Tuesday (Jan. 9), the Miami News Times reported that prisoners of the Florida Department of Corrections released an internet statement announcing their plan to abstain any regulated chores for 30 days in protest of poor living and working conditions.
The pending strike is being organized by a group of inmates who have adopted the name “Operation PUSH” after Jesse Jackson’s 1970s political movement. And while they do not explain how they gained this internet access, what their electronic proclamation does detail is a clear motive for the demonstration that is set to begin on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
“It’s time we reverse the psychology and STAND together,” Operation PUSH declared. “The way to strike back is not with violence as this is what they want! If we show them violence they will have a legitimate excuse to use brute force against us and explain to the public that they had to use brute force in order to contain the situation. However, their weakness is their wallet.”
This “attack” against the prison’s revenue system may prove to be profitable. As of 2013, nearly 80 percent of Florida’s prison market is owned by private prisons that make close to 60 million dollars annually through free labor similar to the duties Operation PUSH will be refusing to do.
If done effectively, this strike will answer the question of what prisoners are “gaining” through this internet access. Through technology, inmates of the Florida Department of Corrections have mobilized in a way that could potentially cost the Florida Department of Corrections a large sum of money. This is a loss that could lead to a statewide recognition of grievances, making Florida a leader in creating the reform that many believe the prison system so desperately needs.