Prison on Lock Down for a Day
Yesterday saw unprecedented unity among prisoners at Marquette Branch Prison, Michigan's concentration camp. Only 50 prisoners out of about 1,100 went to chow. The rest refused to go in an expression of solidarity and unity in protest of the appalling food from Trinity Corporation and of MDOC's complicity in failing to address the situation.
Prison officials retaliated by locking down the entire Marquette facility from Tuesday, May 24, through Wednesday, May 25, at 6pm.
The unity action at Marquette Branch Prison is the fourth in a series of similar protests in recent weeks, beginning at Kinross Correctional Facility and Chippewa Correctional Facility in March, followed by Cotton Correctional Facility (in Jackson) in April. According to the Detroit Free Press:
Both of the UP protests were characterized by extremely high participation rates among inmates, which disturbed both the prison administration and the Michigan Corrections Organization, which is the union representing corrections officers."Absolutely, we're still concerned—it's been spreading," said Anita Lloyd, a spokeswoman for the MCO.
Trinity took over food services for Michigan Department of Corrections after the previous contract with Aramark ended amid repeated scandals. MDOC took prison food services out of the hands of state workers and privatized it in December 2013. A recent report from the University of Michigan (Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy) exposed problems such as food shortages, security vulnerabilities, and other dangerous conditions under Aramark's reign.
And prisoners say food services under Trinity are just as bad, or worse. This has led to the current wave of peaceful protests which serve to build unity and solidarity among prisoners.
Stay tuned for more details from Rev. Pinkney!