About the project
Perilous is a project supported by a network of people across the country—including you—who seek to gather and track information on prison uprisings, riots, protests, strikes, and other disturbances within public and private jails, prisons, and detention centers in North America. In this process, we rely on crowdsourced information in addition to local news outlets and our own reporting.
We consider this project a work in progress. Despite our best efforts, we know that many events are missing from our system. We also seek to gather comprehensive information of prison disturbances in Canada and Mexico, but are currently able to represent only a few events in those locations.
If you have information to share, please contact us at prisonuprisings [at] protonmail [dot] com
Why is this necessary?
There is currently no body tracking disturbances within prisons and making that information widely available to the public. This lack of basic information is a limitation that we seek to address. By compiling this information, we seek to contribute to the growing conversation around incarceration.
After forty years of mass incarceration, prison systems are facing a number of crises. Understaffing, budget cuts, labor struggles with guard unions, overcrowding, and shifting public opinion are leading to various proposals for overhauling prison systems. We seek to gather information about prisoner resistance activities that may inform the changing face of incarceration by spreading a greater understanding of how prisoners respond to their confinement and the conditions thereof.
How do we gather information?
We rely on a variety of sources of information such as crowdsourcing, direct information from prisoners and detainees, media coverage, social media, statements from prison staff and administrations, and various other sources.
In most cases, the information we include in our timeline has been verified by multiple sources and is usually also corroborated by the associated department of corrections or other carceral body. In some cases, we have chosen to include information that relies on a single source if we believe that the limitations of prison conditions have impacted prisoners’ ability to get information about an event to the public. In these cases, the limitations of available information have been noted.
What is included in our timeline?
Any disturbance within a jail, prison or detention center since December of 2010 in the US, Canada or Mexico that occurs as a result of the agency of multiple incarcerated people acting in concert in response to their confinement or the conditions thereof.
What is not included in our timeline?
Concerted rebellion by prisoners has occurred throughout the history of incarceration, including a powerful uptick during the Prisoner Rights Movement of the 1960s and 70s. Our timeline begins with the December 2010 Georgia prison work stoppage and therefore excludes much of this history. Since 2010, we have seen a steadily rising wave of prison rebellion which may constitute a nation-wide social movement (similar to the Occupy movement or the Black Lives Matter movement). Our goal is to track this movement comprehensively.
In most cases, we do not include violence between groups of prisoners that do not contribute to or in some way constitute an effort to address the conditions of their confinement. Nor do we include disturbances that result from forces entirely outside the control of prisoners themselves, such as natural disasters, unless the response to these events on the part of prisoners constitute an event in themselves. We also do not include as separate events the many cases of activity in response to incarceration by people who are not incarcerated, such as outside demonstrations. However, if such an event occurs in concert with a disturbance within a jail, prison, or detention center, we will note it in the entry for that event.
However, in situations in which any of the above events has a significant impact on the national conversation around prisons or is for some other reason extremely significant, such as the mass prisoner-on-prisoner violence at Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina in April, 2018, we may choose to include these events on a case-by-case basis.
What if there is an error, omission, or incomplete event in the timeline?
We encourage feedback on any of the information included here. The scope of this project is massive and we cannot do it without the contributions of others. If something happens at a jail, prison, or detention center, please send us a tip even if you think we probably already know about it and even if you’re not sure if it meets our criteria: prisonuprisings [at] protonmail [dot] com.
Although we have done our best to gather the most accurate information available, we expect that the Timeline involves errors of information and encourage you to help us find them.
How can you contribute?
As a small group of volunteers, we rely on the support of the public to continue this work. Support us by sharing the Timeline with others, sending us information on prison uprisings, or donating to the project. The more support we receive the more complete our coverage will be.
• Submit your information via our Contact page.
• Email us at prisonuprisings [at] protonmail [dot] com
• Donate to the project via PayPal.