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

November 7, 2018: Colorado has officially abolished slavery in detention! This week, voters in Colorado voted to pass Amendment A which will remove language from the state’s constitution that allows involuntary servitude as a form of criminal punishment. Read more on the story here.

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?

Notes:

  1. https://www.thenation.com/article/ices-captive-immigrant-labor-force/
  2. https://www.thenation.com/article/ices-captive-immigrant-labor-force/
  3. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-bc-us–reveal-recovery-centers-forced-labor-20171004-story.html
  4. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/12/how-much-longer-will-inmates-fight-californias-wildfires/547628/
  5. https://aflcio.org/2016/4/5/lets-get-serious-about-mass-incarceration
  6. https://aflcio.org/2016/4/5/lets-get-serious-about-mass-incarceration
  7. https://www.thenation.com/article/ices-captive-immigrant-labor-force/
  8. http://www.heritage.org/constitution/#!/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.12http://www.ilo.org/empent/areas/business-helpdesk/faqs/WCMS_DOC_ENT_HLP_FL_FAQ_EN/lang–en/index.htm#Q3

  9. http://correctionalnews.com/2018/01/09/corecivic-class-action-tennessee/
  10. http://correctionalnews.com/2018/01/09/corecivic-class-action-tennessee/
  • November 7, 2018: Colorado has officially abolished slavery in detention! This week, voters in Colorado voted to pass Amendment A which will remove language from the state’s constitution that allows involuntary servitude as a form of criminal punishment. Read more on the story here.

  • 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

Chip in and help end modern slavery once and for all.

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Freedom UnitedMark AdamsMaurice O"ReillyArl SenJoleen Worden Recent comment authors
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Mark Adams
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Mark Adams

The system definitely needs a shake up, but I can’t sign this unconditionally. If genuine criminals are allowed to refuse work, they might riot out of boredom. If a thief hides their stolen money and is paid decent wages, then is released and retrieves the money they took, then they’re being paid twice. Also, what if they can’t find employment on the outside. Please, Freedom United, give me a another reason why I should sign this other than what a convention says.

Maurice O"Reilly
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Maurice O"Reilly

It is morally wrong and absolutely disgusting to see how GREED works/when will we realise that Profit is not always the best means to run any business/Shameful conduct must be condemned and never condoned/Keep up the good fight

Arl Sen
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Arl Sen

Prison enslavement & severe underpayment is a human rights violation & should be allowed. Now to hear that immigrants in detention centers are going through this forced labor even to get food is immensefully cruel & illegal. I realize regular prison enslavement goes way before Trump. But now that the cruel Trump is threatening immigrants and would be immigrants, stealing children from immigrants, we are hearing more and more of the severity from assaults to slave labor of children.

Joleen Worden
Guest
Joleen Worden

Making convicted criminals earn their keep is not slavery. The immigrants you refer to are illegal alien trespassers who broke our laws. I am tired of taxpayers footing the bill for criminals, so yes, make them earn their food and warm housing and beds and toilets. Of course the work they do should be civilized, but coddling to criminals who are lazy and want a cushy life at my expense is stupid.

M S
Guest

That is how those evil elites materially get rich and stay materially rich. They are responsible for ALL these atrocities worldwide.

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

42,308 actions of 50,000 goal
42,308

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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