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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Downtown protest: ‘Brick by brick, wall by wall, we will make these prisons fall’

Rebecca Noble

A protestor walks down Broadway Boulevard as the protest makes its way back to the Ronstadt Transit Center.

Protesting national prison conditions, 50 people chanted “brick by brick, wall by wall, we will make these prisons fall” at the downtown Ronstadt Transit Center on Sept. 10.

Prison conditions have caught the attention of protesters nationwide and the special attention of the Green Party of Pima Country, as two candidates showed up to march.

The anniversary of the New York Attica Prison Rebellion was Sept. 9, also marking the beginning of a new series of nationwide prison riots.

Over 50 cities across America pledged to march in solidarity for those incarcerated, whom they feel aren’t being treated fairly.

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As part of the nationwide prisoner strike solidarity marches, protesters marched the the entire block on Congress Avenue and Sixth Street, carrying flags and signs while chanting, “Burn the prisons to the ground.”

The Tucson Police Department was present with three police vehicles, five officers biking alongside the marchers and more than 10 on foot keeping the protesters on the sidewalk.

In Arizona, there are six private prisons which exist for a corporate profit, meaning that the corporation in ownership of those prisons gets a certain amount of money per inmate.

Members of the prison resistance believe this simply gives Arizona more incentive to incarcerate people for minor drug and theft crimes.

This was one of the most talked about issues, along with the toxicity of drinking water and abominable wages for inmates trying to get back on their feet.

Linda Shosie said the reason she’s protesting the prison system is because her son has been incarcerated for 14 years due to a minor crime and believes all prisoners should be treated fairly.

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“We see a lot of cancer and death in the prisons of Arizona,” Shosie said. “They have been investigated, and we believe that it has as much to do with the toxic water. Arizona water has been contaminated and prisons have then been built in those areas.”

Green Party member and Pima County Attorney candidate Cyndi Tuell made an appearance at the protest on Saturday.

She said she attended the march because there are currently no for-profit prisons in Pima County, and she wants to keep it that way.

“There are far too many people incarcerated in Pima County, even though our crime rates are declining,” Tuell said. “We’re incarcerating far too many people of color as well. Women, and people of color, and people who are poor are being incarcerated far too often.”

Tuell said that prisoners are usually forced to work whether they desire to or not, and believes that’s a crime in itself.

Another political candidate for the Green Party showed up at the march.

Edward Cizek, age 24, who hopes to be elected into the Arizona House next month, has a very firm stance on the conditions of prisons.

“This is about prisoners all around the country being subjected to working within the prison system, often for very low wages,” Cizek said. “This is an egregious violation. Even though prisoners need to be rehabilitated, I think far too often the prison system is corrupted.” 

Follow Courtney Gallant on Twitter.

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