Inmates Say Florida Has Turned Them Into Slaves. They're Revolting

Operation PUSH begins Monday
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2018 10:35 AM CST
Stock photo of a prison.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Many Americans aren't working on Martin Luther King Day; others are protesting work that they describe as slave labor. The Guardian reports on an "unusual" protest organized by prisoners throughout the state of Florida that kicks off Monday. The primary grievance: that they're forced to work and paid nothing—not even the nominal 15 cents an hour some prisoners see in other states, for instance. They're seeking a fair wage and hope to arrive at that end via the monthlong Operation PUSH, during which they plan to not show up for work assignments. Said the prisoners in a statement, "Our goal is to make the governor realize that it will cost the state of Florida millions of dollars daily to contract outside companies to come and cook, clean, and handle the maintenance. This will cause a total breakdown."

  • As for those millions: The Intercept, which reports at least eight prisons have inmates who plan to participate in the protest, notes that in addition to the work done in the prisons, "community work squads" logged 3.15 million hours of work—worth $38 million, and which included Hurricane Irma cleanup—throughout the state in 2017.

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