This week, current and former prisoners in Alabama filed a lawsuit in federal court arguing that the state’s prison labor system violates both the U.S. and Alabama constitutions by subjecting inmates to a “modern-day form of slavery,” The New York Times reports.
Suit aims to abolish illegal “labor trafficking scheme”
Thousands of prisoners in many states across the U.S. work in “correctional industries” programs, producing clothing, license plates and other goods. In Alabama prisoners working for state and local government agencies are paid $2 per day. The complaint filed by prisoners in Alabama points out that this is the same daily wage rate the state set for incarcerated labor in 1927.
Lakiera Walker, one of the plaintiffs who served 15 years in the Alabama prison system said:
“They can say, ‘Oh, we don’t have forced labor,’ but you have so many women on the inside right now who are afraid to speak out for the fear of retaliation.”