Stop Forced Labor of Immigrants at Detention Center

Target: Damon T. Hininger, CEO of CoreCivic, Inc.

Goal: Urge the private prison corporation to end forced labor and compensate immigrants for their work.

While federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, a private detention center in Georgia is reportedly forcing jailed immigrants to labor for as little as $1 a day. This past week, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) filed a class-action lawsuit against CoreCivic on behalf of three prisoners at Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia. Besides running the facility, the multi-billion dollar enterprise partners with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to house detainees. In the wake of Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration, the corporation has expanded capacity by 450 percent nationwide in a bid to increase profit margins.

The basis of SPLC’s charges fall under anti-trafficking violations. On top of the unethical wages, captives are reportedly threatened with solitary confinement and loss of access to food, hygienic products, and phone calls to family if they refuse to work. Those behind bars are allegedly also coerced into a ¨deprivation scheme¨ since they must purchase essential items from the commissary, whether they be soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc. Whatever money they earn funnels itself back into the system. Moreover, the company reportedly refuses to staff kitchen crew or cleaners with inmates doing all of the dirty work for next to nothing.

Now the plaintiffs are demanding at least $5 million in compensation to be split among the misused laborers at Stewart. Nobody should be required to work for only a few cents an hour or else be deprived of basic necessities. End the exploitation of immigrants at for-profit detention centers by pressuring CoreCivic to pay up and stand up against force labor.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Hiniger,

It has recently come to the attention of the American public that incarcerated immigrants at Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia are working for as little as $1 a day. Apart from the alleged forced labor, it appears as though inmates risk forfeiting access to vital items if they don’t comply. Reports also say that whatever money they earn is used to buy toiletries at the in-house commissary – depicting one viscous cycle of preying on vulnerable people. Seeing that your corporation owns and operates this southern penitentiary, let’s make this perfectly clear– it’s only a matter of time until companies that prioritize profit over human rights get punished.

America’s industrial private prison system plagues society based on the manner in which wealth is generated at the expense of other people’s misfortune. Show us your morality by compensating the detainees at Lumpkin while abolishing forced labor at your premises across the country. It’s safe to say that CoreCivic can afford it. Last year your company’s revenue exceeded well over $1.8 billion – yet you’re still trying to be frugal by avoiding hiring full time staff members to manage your facilities. You’re gravely mistaken if you don’t consider this to be modern day slavery. This exploitation must end. Prove us wrong and accept responsibility for the corruption at play.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: TryJimmy

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