Campaign Update:

May 17, 2019: CoreCivic has released its first-ever ESG report setting out a policy to prohibit “trafficking and unlawful forced labor.” We’re making ourselves heard, let’s keep up the pressure!

Help stop forced labor of detainees

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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?

  • May 17, 2019: CoreCivic has released its first-ever ESG report setting out a policy to prohibit “trafficking and unlawful forced labor.” We’re making ourselves heard, let’s keep up the pressure!

  • May 15, 2019: Today we and concerned Nashville residents teamed up for an event to raise awareness of reports of forced labor in CoreCivic facilities. With support from the Red Sand Project, we poured red sand into cracks in the public sidewalk near CoreCivic’s headquarters to show the for-profit prison company that we stand against prison slavery.

  • February 25, 2019: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra released his report investigating conditions in immigration detention centers in California. Whilst we welcome this report, we are disappointed that the issue of forced labor in detention is not addressed in detail. Read the full report here.

  • February 22, 2019: We joined our partner, Detainee Allies, handing in 43,106 signatures to the California Attorney General Xavier Becerra! Atty. Gen. Becerra is due to release a report in March 2019 investigating conditions in immigration detention centers in California.

  • 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 and join our call on CoreCivic to act.

  • 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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Roger PenneyHollyB StalyRobin MunkelwitzJonathan Ratzlaff Recent comment authors
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Roger Penney

Britain stopped te slave trade and slavery itself in the Empire. Now it is coming back in a variety of disguises. It has been coming back and looks like getting worse. I am ashamed for my country.


Our prisons are over-crowded and it’s because there is no deterrent to keep them out or from returning. Maybe this will work! Keep it up!


Our prisons are over-crowded and it’s because there is no deterrent to keep them from coming back! Maybe this will work! Keep it up!

B Staly
B Staly

No way. Work is always better than no work. Don’t believe the story. No facts, no backup. People NEED to work. To bring work back into prison is a GOOD thing.

Robin Munkelwitz
Robin Munkelwitz

It’s it’s plain old slavery by no other name I don’t know what else you would call it

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

45,809 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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