Update from the Collective Struggle inside the Westville Control Unit
Aramark, the private company that won the contract for food at Westville Correctional Facility (a prison in northern Indiana), has enacted drastic cut-backs over the past several months. As a result, hot lunch trays have been replaced with cold, nutritionally deficient sack lunches. One prisoner reports dropping from 215 to 150 pounds during his stint in Westville. Prisoners began refusing these humiliating lunches in collective protest on January 13th, and now their struggle is expanding.
Westville’s Control Unit is divided into four pods, each containing four sections. As the collective protest spreads, it’s expected to involve majorities in all eight sections of A and B pods before the end of the week. Prisoners report that many within the Control Unit are setting aside petty differences in order to support each other and share food.
In response to the start of the protest and the mass call-in day on 1/14, prison bureaucrats are foisting responsibility for the malnourishing lunches onto Aramark. However, we know that the two are acting in collusion; the DOC could act to force the contractor to bring back hot lunches. Prisoners have been inspired by the massive response to the call-in day from around the United States. They are determined to continue until they win.
Now is the time to multiply solidarity actions and pressure against the Indiana DOC and Aramark. Continue calling IDOC Commissioner Bruce Lemmon at (317) 232-5711 and Aramark Correctional Services at (800) 777-7090 (though we’ve heard that they have sometimes stopped picking up in response to the flood of calls they’ve received so far). Appalling contracts and practices such as the DOC and Aramark’s are common; spread word of the protest to prisoners in other facilities. Step up resistance to prisons and a society that profits from confinement and control.
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