Lexington: No more prisons in KY

Early Thursday morning, prison abolitionists dropped a banner over New Circle Road in Lexington, KY. The banner states “No Pride in Prisons,” incorporating the logo of Hal’s Rogers PRIDE initiative which, according to the initiative homepage, “promotes personal responsibility in a desirable environment in 42 counties in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.” The rest of the banner reads “Solidarity with Sept. 9 Prison Strike,” drawing ties between the nationwide prison strike expected to begin Friday morning and the new federal supermax prison, USP Letcher, that is set to be built in KY. Hours later, a poster that directly addresses Hal Roger was found near downtown. While there has long been local dissent over the prison, the plans have largely been kept quiet from the rest of the state. But now outside support is growing.

USP Letcher is to be built on a strip mining site downstream from a coal slurry pond that the Bureau of Prisons has repeatedly denied the existence of. Prisoners at the location would likely be submitted to numerous environmental health hazards and the prison construction would only do further harm to the geographical and social landscape of eastern KY.

This largest-ever nationwide prison strike has been prompted by years of abuse, some environmental, and oppressive working conditions. To profit off of this slavery is immoral, but Hal Rogers has continued to push prisons on Eastern KY as a means of economic reform. If there is money coming in from the prisons, it sure isn’t going to those counties where they are built. Three other prisons have been constructed in Rogers’ region during his term, and none have experienced any significant positive changes from the prisons. Another prison in KY would only be a step back in the fight for justice.

We suggest Hal Rogers take on some of that “personal responsibility” his decade-old initiative touts: for the environment of his citizens, current and future, free and incarcerated.

END PRISON SLAVERY!