Incarcerated workers in the US produce at least $11bn in goods and services annually but receive just pennies an hour in wages for their prison jobs, according to a new report from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Nearly two-thirds of all prisoners in the US, which imprisons more of its population than any other country in the world, have jobs in state and federal prisons. That figure amounts to roughly 800,000 people, researchers estimated in the report, which is based on extensive public records requests, questionnaires and interviews with incarcerated workers.
ACLU researchers say the findings outlined in Wednesday’s report raise concerns about the systemic exploitation of prisoners, who are compelled to work sometimes difficult and dangerous jobs without basic labor protections and little or no training while making close to nothing.
Most incarcerated workers are tasked with general prison maintenance that is crucial to keep the facilities running, according to the ACLU researchers, who worked with the University of Chicago Law School’s Global Human Rights Clinic.
Read more at The Guardian