Stop Exploiting Inmates for Cheap Labor

Target: President Joe Biden

Goal: Pay incarcerated individuals fair wages for their work and ensure that no one is forced into labor against their choice.

Slavery is still legal in the United States so long as it is used as punishment for a crime. This gaping loophole is used to exploit incarcerated people by forcing them into labor, refusing to pay fair wages, and profiting from this injustice. It is a continuation of racist oppression in the U.S., where those that are most likely to be arrested are black, indigenous, or people of color. With a staggering 2.3 million people incarcerated nationwide, many of which are serving time for non-violent offenses, it is crucial to analyze who profits from this systemic and unconstitutional practice. 

The justice system has long targeted minorities and low-income communities to meet arrest quotas and fill prisons with people who cannot afford a fair trial with adequate representation. Private companies that have contracts with government-run prisons then profit from low-to-no-pay labor, deducting up to 80% of wages. 

It is time to demand back the rights of people who have been incarcerated. One piece of that is ensuring adequate compensation for incarcerated individuals’ work. Sign the petition below to demand that inmates be paid fair wages equal to what they would earn outside of prison and reduce the financial incentive that currently exists for those that are profiting from forced labor. 


Dear Mr. President, 

Slavery today does not look the same as it once did, yet it still very much exists here in the United States. The vocabulary has been modified: those that were once called slaves are now called criminals, immigrants, inmates, or felons. The justice system, as it stands today, is no more than a continuation of systemic racist oppression. 

“Punishment for a crime” is used to exploit incarcerated people and profit from forced labor. This is a terrible abuse of human rights. Crime or no crime, there is no valid justification to force another human to work against their will and without fair compensation. It is time to correct this law to reflect humane standards and stop using it to oppress and exploit people. I demand that you make forced labor of any kind illegal once and for all. 


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Roseohioresident

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221 Signatures

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