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Unauthorized Disclosure—Episode 2: Operation PUSH, Victory Against Immigrant Detention

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This week’s “Unauthorized Disclosure” podcast features two interviews.

In our first interview, we talk to Karen Smith, an organizer with the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC).  She is also part of the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons. She joins the  show to provide an update on Operation PUSH, which is a prison strike  that is currently ongoing at several facilities in Florida.

Following Smith’s interview, we speak to Marbella Chavez, an organizer with the Coalition Against the Elkhart County Immigrant Detention Center. CoreCivic, a private prison contractor, planned to build a center in Elkhart County, Indiana. They believed since it was a county in a red state they would easily gain approval from officials. However, as Chavez describes, several from the community came together to build opposition to CoreCivic and stopped the company from building a new facility.

“I would hear a lot of adults saying, you know what? If they want to do this, they’re going to do it. No matter what you do, it’s going to happen,” Chavez recalls. “To be able to show them, look, they wanted to do this, and it didn’t happen is huge.”

“It does bring hope back to mobilizing and working together as a community to accomplish something to protect us and protect our vulnerable communities.”

During the interview with Smith, she asserts Operation PUSH has been a success. “We have heard from a lot of prisoners that want in on this movement. We have already cost the Department of Corrections a ton of money and continue to do so. We have contributed to the prisoner resistance movement that has just been growing. I mean, we’ve been covered—Teen Vogue wrote something about this.”

“That’s what it’s really about: changing public perception. Prisoners as bad violent people that must be locked away versus this is a business. This is a corporate enterprise, where only the people on top are benefiting and literally everybody below is being hurt and communities are being decimated.”

Listen to the episode by clicking on the above player or go here.

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."