In Alabama, current and former inmates filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the state’s prison labor system constitutes forced labor, violating both U.S. and Alabama constitutions. They claim Alabama gains over $450 million annually from forced labor, benefiting private corporations unlawfully.
According to Huffington Post, the lawsuit seeks to dismantle the state’s captive labor and compensate inmates, naming Governor Kay Ivey, Attorney General Steve Marshall, and corrections officials as defendants. Attorney Janet Herold likened these practices to the post-Civil War convict-leasing system, impacting Black prisoners disproportionately.
The lawsuit highlights deductions reducing pay rates below the minimum wage and the meager compensation for state jobs, set at a rate from almost a century ago. It alleges violations of the 14th Amendment and Alabama’s constitutional amendment against involuntary servitude as punishment.
The filing showcases incarcerated individuals’ fears of reprisal for speaking out. It questions the state’s failure to honor voters’ intent, reflected in a previous measure aimed at eradicating involuntary servitude.
However, many are still shocked with the fact that this is still happening in 2023. The peculiarity of the US prison complex has sparked some fear in Americans. For the most part, other countries in the world do not have privately owned prison complexes, but it is quite popular in the United States. The 13th Amendment allows forced labour to be carried out as a punishment for a crime.
X users react to Alabama prisoners subjected to forced labour
Yes, the Prison Industrial Complex is worth your time to research. Not just in Alabama. Many companies use inmates to produce goods sold for retail. Pretty gross, considering those are jobs a fair wage citizen could have.
— Mysterious Fizz (@treesonstumps) December 12, 2023
Following that, users are discussing the ethics of prisoners having these jobs. A user claims that the prison complex in the United States is rather an interesting topic. Furthermore, some state that popular brands are using these labour forces for their goods which would’ve been given as a fair wage job.
Perhaps they should have avoided committing a jail-worthy offense.
— A Ration Of Rational (@ARatOfRat) December 13, 2023
Others are not showing any sympathies towards the prisoners by stating that they should’ve not committed any jail worthy crimes. For the most part, X users agree with this rhetoric as if these prisoners did not commit serious crimes, they wouldn’t be in jail to begin with.
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