Help stop forced labor in U.S. detention -
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Campaign Update:

August 28, 2018: Across the United States, inmates are planning strikes for 19 days to protest conditions in detention, including exploiting them for forced labor.

Help stop forced labor in U.S. detention

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“…detainees began to work in the kitchen just so they could eat more…one detainee lost 68 lbs. Their ‘volunteering’ involved literally working for food.”1

Immigrants detained in a private prison in San Diego allege that they have been subjected to forced labor and threatened with solitary confinement or restricted visitation rights if they refused to work.2

The complainants say the company that owns the prison, CoreCivic, one of the largest private prison companies in the US, pays at most $1.50 per day, and sometimes nothing at all, for their work as kitchen staff, janitors, barbers and in various other roles.

But reports of forced labor are not isolated to immigration detention centers. In Oklahoma, offenders sentenced to rehabilitation end up forced into labor on chicken farms, without any recourse or access to an actual recovery program.3 Prisoners in California are forced into labor and made to risk their lives fighting the state’s wildfires for a dollar an hour or less.4

Forced labor in prisons is not an immigration issue, it’s an American one, replicated worldwide.

The United States is home to the largest prison system in the world, housing 25% of the world’s prisoners but only 5% of the global population, and spends more than $80 billion a year. Incarceration rates in the United States have increased by 700% in the last four decades, even though crime has dramatically decreased.5 Among those incarcerated, more than 60% are people of color. And Black men are six times more likely to be incarcerated than white men.6

This system of mass incarceration – at a rate per capita that surpasses every country on earth – is inherently discriminatory, disproportionately affecting communities of color while creating a never-ending pool of people to be exploited through forced labor in prisons and detention centers across the country for corporate gain.

Rolling back President Obama’s progress on minimizing private prison industry contracts, President Trump has called for an increase of prisons and detainment centers by upwards of 450%, perpetuating and embedding a system that exploits people of color for private benefit.7

The Thirteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which intended to end slavery, shockingly permits its use as a punishment for crime.8 CoreCivic claims to align with international standards but over the years has faced multiple complaints for violating prisoners’ rights.9

CoreCivic must address allegations of forced labor, state that forced labor will not be tolerated, and raise wages for voluntary work by prisoners and detainees, that is comparable with free labor, to help stop exploitation.

CoreCivic is also currently facing another class-action complaint for allegedly attempting to defraud its investors by falsely representing improved operational policies and procedures around the rights and dignity of prisoners and detainees in multiple centers.10 We must speak out and let them know forced labor in detention is unacceptable.

Will you join us in helping to stop slavery in prison?


  8.!/amendments/13/essays/166/abolition-of-slavery11  It does not provide for the use of slavery against civil detainees in immigration centers. Additionally, regulations introduced in 2015 aim to end trafficking in government contracting. 

    Minimum international standards around the use of prison labor are outlined in the International Labour Organization’s Forced Labor Convention. It states that prisoners, just as free persons, must not be forced to work under threat of penalty or loss of privileges. Furthermore, wages should be comparable to those of free workers and health and safety measures should be taken as well.12–en/index.htm#Q3

  • August 28, 2018: Across the United States, inmates are planning strikes for 19 days to protest conditions in detention, including exploiting them for forced labor.

  • July 13, 2018: This Friday, we are going to be on the streets in London standing in solidarity with everyone calling for change in the current U.S administration’s policies. If you’d like to join us, let us know by emailing us here!

  • May 2018: Pressure is mounting as two new cases have been brought against CoreCivic where plaintiffs allege forced labor, in Texas earlier this year, and Georgia, last month. Both cases are ongoing. Click here to read more.

Jan 15, 2018 Campaign Launches

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Elio Andalo VimercatiGeraldine WaughBronwyn MorrisedersonCeleste Recent comment authors
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Elio Andalo Vimercati
Elio Andalo Vimercati

The idea of rehabilitating a citizen in jail in order to have a better one after release and therefore a safer society is now four centuries old in Europe (and in Canada!). So we are surprised of such an arrested development of the idea in the US. But most Europeans are certain that, the right steps performed, the extraordinary juridical methods culminating in the Supreme Courts will succeed in having the American Constitution fully respected and applied. It is important for us because we share


please, be more balanced we are talking about life each life had a story that went through a lot
Thus saith Jehovah psalms 41:1Blessed is he who cares for the lowly; + On the day of calamity Jehovah will save him

Andrew S McCullough
Andrew S McCullough

I actually favor labor over solitary confinement, but not chain gangs! There has to be a way to have prisoners use their time well, AND to get out in a reasonable time!

Bronwyn Morris
Bronwyn Morris

The point of this petition is to highlight that private enterprise is basically using slave labour to further their financial gain. There is a way for prisoners to do productive work but not to be used by the highest bidder. This is unconscionable action and must be stopped immediately.


They commit a crime and they are complaining about labor laws!!! NO WAY!!! they committed a crime, they must pay to the fullest!!!! they must be made to work!!!!!


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Most prisoners have never committed a crime. Most of them are being held (often in direct contravention to the Constitution) pre-trial. Many have been arrested without probable cause. Some are awaiting immigration proceedings. Some have been falsely convicted due to police and prosecutorial misconduct. Perhaps we should impose treble damages against the offending police and prosecutors.

LB King
LB King

Corporate greed is criminal and corrupt violating human rights forcing inmates into slavery. This inhumane treatment is a direct violation of American Citizen Rights and needs to stop.

CoreCivic: Help stop forced labor in the U.S. prison & detention system

38,494 actions of 50,000 goal

To: Damon T. Hininger, President and CEO, CoreCivic

We welcome CoreCivic’s stated commitment to human rights laid out in your Human Rights Policy Statement1 but express our deep concern regarding recent allegations of forced labor in the Otay Mesa Detention Center set out in a pending class action lawsuit, which suggests this commitment is not being met.

Noting the allegations against CoreCivic, the increasing use of forced labor against civil detainees in immigration centers, and as one of the country’s largest providers of prison and detention services, we urge CoreCivic to:

– Address forced labor allegations at Otay Mesa and provide remediation where required;

– Add explicit language denouncing forced labor to the company’s Human Rights Policy Statement, with measures to verify that it is enforced and enacted across all company sites; and

– Raise the wages paid to detainees for voluntary work to a level that is comparable for free workers, as set out in International Labour Organization standards.

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