‘Slavery by any name is wrong’: the push to end forced labor in prisons
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
Posted: October 31st, 2022
“We have a system that forces people to work and not only forces them to work but does not give them an adequate living wage,” said [prison reformer Johnny] Perez. “Slavery by any name is wrong. Slavery in any shape or form is wrong.” Perez is now part of a nationwide movement that hopes to reform what some have called the “slavery loophole” that allows incarcerated people to be paid tiny sums for jobs that – if they refuse to do them – can have dire consequences. The 13th amendment of the US constitution, ratified in 1865, abolished slavery and involuntary servitude. But it contained an exception for “a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted”. This exception clause has been used to exploit prisoners in the US as workers, paying them nothing to a few dollars a day to perform jobs ranging from prison services to manufacturing or working for private employers where the majority of their pay is deducted for room and board and other expenses. A report published by the American Civil Liberties Union in June 2022 found about 800,000 prisoners out of the 1.2 million in state and federal prisons are forced to work, generating a conservative estimate of $11bn annually in goods and services while average wages range from 13 cents to 52 cents per hour. Five states – Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas – force prisoners to work without pay. The report concluded that the labor conditions of US prisoners violate fundamental human rights to life and dignity.
Note: The #EndTheException coalition is working to end slavery. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.