The University of Chicago Law School’s Global Human Rights Clinic and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) found in a report that incarcerated workers who generate billions of dollars in revenue for US prison labor programs but receive almost no compensation violate fundamental human rights.
The authors of the report conducted first-hand interviews with those subjected to incarceration who were exposed to prison labor.
In the findings, nearly 65 percent of those incarcerated reported working in some capacity within the prison. According to the ACLU report, up to 76 percent faced punishment if they failed to perform prison labor.
The findings indicate that those incarcerated in the American prison system are subjected to harsh conditions and unfair practices.
“Prison laborers are at the mercy of their employers,” a news release of the report reads. “They have no control over their work assignments, are excluded from minimum wage and overtime protections, are unable to unionize, do not receive adequate training and equipment, and are denied workplace safety guarantees despite often dangerous working conditions.”
“As a result, 64% of incarcerated workers surveyed report worrying about their safety while working; 70% percent say they received no formal job training; and 70% percent report not being able to afford basic necessities like soap and phone calls with prison labor wages,” the report also emphasized.