Inside the prison strikes that are rippling across the country

This piece first aired Oct. 10, 2016, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

In September, inmate strikes at U.S. prisons spread into what’s believed to be the largest prison strike in American history. In a coordinated protest against a range of prison conditions, a total of 24,000 inmates in at least 12 states refused to work or eat.

Using a contraband cellphone, inmate Kinetic Justice spoke to VICE News’ Antonia Hylton about what led to strikes at Holman Correctional Facility in Alabama. “The conditions were so horrific and deplorable that sewage was actually coming up in the dormitory,” he explained.  Then Holman’s correctional officers joined in the action to address overcrowding and understaffing, staging a protest of their own with nearly a dozen quitting or going on leave.

The epicenter of the national strikes, Alabama’s prison system, is now being investigated by the Department of Justice.

The Southern Poverty Law Center provided photos used in this piece.

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