Captive Labor: Exploitation of Incarcerated Workers

Document Date: June 15, 2022

Captive Labor: Exploitation of Incarcerated Workers, an ACLU research report produced in collaboration with the Global Human Rights Clinic of the University of Chicago Law School, examines the use of prison labor throughout state and federal prisons in the U.S. Bringing together interviews and surveys of incarcerated workers, analysis of government data, desk research, and policy review, this comprehensive report documents the harsh conditions and unfair practices, highlighting how incarcerated workers’ labor helps maintain prisons and provides vital public services. The report also includes a focus on prison labor during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report calls for far-reaching reforms to ensure prison labor is truly voluntary and that incarcerated workers are paid fairly, properly trained, and able to gain transferable skills. These calls are accompanied by concrete recommendations for federal, state, and local stakeholders to improve these conditions and ensure that prison systems treat incarcerated workers with dignity and respect.

Learn more about the report | Read the stories of incarcerated workers

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