In 1901, the State of Alabama adopted the constitution on 1901, by which they created a legal structure, necessary for building an economy with “cheap labor” as its foundation. Since its inception, the state of Alabama has built its economy from the economical exploitation of those they considered beneath them. For many years, Alabama has misused its judicial system to feed its needs for “cheap slave labor.” The combination of poverty, crime, arbitrary laws, and disparate application of laws has caused the prisons to overflow. Prisoners working for “little or nothing” is one of Alabama’s biggest work forces. We are talking business: the more people in prison, the bigger the potential work force.
As we can’t marginalize the great strides made during the civil rights movement. There has been many corrective steps taken since the writing of the constitution of 1901. However, there is so much more to be done. There has been no effective strategy for purging Alabama of its economical and political addiction to cheap (slave) labor. Just think from the status quo’s stand point, it makes too much sense to let it go. Like with most addicts, it takes a little tough love to help them.
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
Free Alabama Movement is proposing that “tough love” in the form of a state-wide (non-violent) protest for civil and human rights. One solid year of solidarity saying we will no longer provide free labor without compensation. We will no longer allow our families to be exploited. Inmate labor saves the state millions of dollars each year, yet the inmate receives no benefit for the labor he provides, no investment in his rehabilitation and re-entry into society. Alabama’s judicial system is more interested in the profits made from inmates’ cheap slave labor than the genuine rehabilitation of the individual. Which has created a prison system that houses more industries than trade schools. They’ve placed less emphasis on education and rehabilitation, while more for free inmate labor. We, as a people, must free Alabama from its 1800s way of thinking, which aggressively pursues new laws, with longer sentences, to ensure long-term inmate labor. We must free Alabama from its lock ‘em up and throw away the key policy which they are misusing to feed their assembly line of inmate labor.
- To put an end to the system of free labor within the Alabama Department of Corrections, as free labor serves no purpose towards rehabilitation and is only a slave-styled system disguised as a system of truth, justice, and punishment for crime. The reality is that free labor of Alabama’s prison system is a continuation of the enslavement and exploitation of black, brown, and poor white people. The name changed, but cheap or free slave labor is still the game.
- To put an end of inhumane living conditions, under which Alabama’s prisoners are forced to live, which stems from Alabama’s choice to warehouse large amounts of people, overpopulating all of its facilities and refusing to put the health of the inmate above cost. These type of living conditions only make incarceration (more) dangerous, and overcrowding contributes to (more) violence, disease outbreaks, and an overall unhealthy living environment. Every aspect of an inmate environment is substandard; from food and water to health care.
- To abolish life without parole sentences and expedite the process of overhauling Alabama’s current parole system; in order to release more deserving people. Life without parole is a cruel sentence which provides the inmate with no incentive to seek rehabilitation.
- To put an end to certain laws targeting certain specific race groups, which is followed by outrageous and arbitrary sentencing. One prime example is Alabama’s drive-by shooting laws, which have been codified in the capital murder statute of 13a-5-40. Studies show that Alabama, with intent, designed these laws for young black males, as when white people have committed the same exact crime, it has been renamed “road rage.” Road rage for one and a full fledged congressional act for the other. Look up Shirley Henson and Phillip Fondren. Read House Joint Resolution 575.
WHAT WE WANT
- We want an end to free labor. Providing free labor deprives us, our families, and our communities of valuable resources, which should be provided to us for our labor. Putting an end would offset the many costs incurred by inmates for every service the Department of Corrections provides.
- We want an end to overcrowding and two-men/women cells. We want a reduction in the prison population, consistent with its design to “humanely” house approximately 16,000 inmates. Today it houses approximately 30,000 inmates – almost double its capacity. It has been a topic in the media for over a decade, yet there has been no effective strategy implemented. Overcrowding contributes to the inhumane living conditions, the sub-par food and water, as well as to the increase in violent altercations.
- We want control of our money and the money our families send us.
- We want a state-wide reform in the youthful offender law and the creation of an adult first time offense law.
- We want life-without-parole sentences abolished.
The Free Alabama Movement (F.A.M.) is founded for and dedicated to supporting Alabama prisoners’ non-violent and peaceful protest for civil and human rights (NVPPC&HR).
A FEW OF ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS’ UNJUST “COMPENSATIONS”
An inmate is required to war a plastic armband at all times. If that plastic armband should break, the inmate is charged $3 for a replacement.
An inmate is required to fill out “sick call slip” for any ailments. The inmate is given a Motrin, referred to the doctor, then charged $4.
An inmate is required to take random urine tests. For lab’s time, the inmate is charged $33.50.
If an inmate is found to be in possession of a cell phone, they are charged $25 on the first offense, and $25 extra with each offense.
If an inmate refuses or misses a scheduled medical appointment, dental appointment, or diagnostics testing, the inmate is charged from $4 to $20 as copayment.
And there are several more money-grabbing schemes of the Department of Corrections. They are preying on families of incarcerated people. As the inmate works for free, so his money has to come from his loved ones.
As you can see, the inmate is charged for basically every service the state provides, yet the state refuses to compensate the inmate for any services he/she provides. This is the same underlying concept that produced the institutions of slavery. But now it may be worse than slavery. Because the slaves were not also charged additional fees for being a slave. And yes, we as inmates are slaves, by the very definition of the word. We provide free labor and receive no benefits from our labor. If that ain’t slavery then what do you call it?
We must put an end to Alabama’s practice of exploiting the families of inmates, with all of their hidden fees. Pay us or stop charging us. We must free Alabama!