Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Prisoner unions advocate for fair labor conditions and improved living conditions and treatment. The first successful union was formed in Sweden in 1966. Within seven years, it grew to represent the majority of Swedish prisoners, winning wages almost equal to those on the outside, safer prison factories, and worker's compensation. In the United States, however, prisoner unions have been and continue to be strongly opposed by government and prison authorities. Following prisoner work strikes in California throughout the 1960s, a small group of attorneys and exprisoners formed the United Prisoners' Union in 1970. By 1972, it had started to focus on litigation and legislation relating to prison unionization, responding to specific inmate problems and building membership within California's male prisons. In San Quentin State Prison, Harlan X. Washington and 15 other Muslim inmates successfully recruited not only their fellow Muslims, but also members of the Aryan Brotherhood, demonstrating the union's ...