CHARLESTON, SC -- The following statement can be attributed to Shaundra Young Scott, Esq., Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina:
"The ACLU of South Carolina is calling on Gov. Henry McMaster, the South Carolina Department of Corrections, and South Carolina
Lawmakers to improve conditions in correctional institutions in this state, re-evaluate bail and prison reform, and put an end to modern day American slavery.
In response to the riot at Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina earlier this year, several inmate advocates have organized a nation-wide strike, beginning today, to highlight the injustices faced behind prison walls: limited recreational time, removed or blacked-out windows, inedible and expired food, inattention to medical emergencies, and even months without running water.
Inmates understand that they must pay their debt to society, but they have a right to humane treatment and the ability to receive actual rehabilitation so they can be successful once they have completed their sentence.
The 13th Amendment’s clause "abolishing" slavery "except as" the punishment of a crime has forced an unjust phenomenon. Huge corporations "employ" prisoners to manufacture goods at an average rate of 20 centers per hour, but go on to make millions on the backs of modern day American slaves.
We ask that the Governor of South Carolina hire more correctional officers, and address and correct the unsanitary and unsafe conditions of our current institutions. We ask that our legislators and lawmakers address prison and bail reform in a meaningful way, and do away with modern day American slavery."