Is this a human rights violation?
They’re being forced to risk their lives, so yeah I would say this is a violation of their right to life.
Everytime I look around, the US Govt, or some part there-of on State or National level; is finding a way to reintroduce slavery.
Fucking hell. The prison industrial complex finds new ways to shock, revile and disgust every day.
This isn’t “a way to reintroduce slavery,” though. The 13th Amendment, which ended slavery, was very precisely written:
"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
This is why black people make up 14% of the US population and 40% of the prison population and why Native Americans make up less than 1% of the US population but 2% of the prison population.
This isnt slavery. These are people who commit crimes like murder and child molestation that are being punished for there actions through physical labor. God forbid they do something other than sit on their asses all day in jail.
Literally nothing you just said is based in fact.
The men fighting these fires are all low-level offenders, primarily with charges for drugs, robbery, and other non-violent offenses (and, fyi, non-violent offenses are what 50% of state prisoners and about 90% of federal prisoners are incarcerated for). US prison has largely been a privatized, for-profit industry since the 1980s. Law changes like mandatory minimums for low-level crime have ensured that the incarceration rate has done nothing but skyrocket because private prisons need a steady flow of inmates to turn profit and our government is contractually obligated to provide that steady flow. Hell, drug-related charges account for over half of that rise of rate. Marginalized groups are targeted disproportionately for incarceration through systemic poverty, inaccessible education, social instability, etc (all which increase risk of drug abuse and other criminal behavior), racial profiling by LEOs, and by being given much harsher sentences than more privileged counterparts. And that’s without even touching on wrongful conviction rates, which are about 6% for violent crimes and estimated to be much higher with lesser offenses.
And criminals are sent to prison as punishment, not for punishment. The confinement and denial of personal agency is the punishment. And prison is meant to serve two purposes: punishment and rehabilitation. Prison work programs are about neither—they exist primarily to defray costs of housing inmates (and, thus, increase profits for private prisons). And bondage, subjugation, and forced labor for other’s financial gain is practically the textbook definition of slavery, so idk what to tell you. There are lots of ways to keep prisoners from “sitting on their asses all day” that don’t involve treating these men and women as unworthy of humane treatment, empathy, and compassion. Hell, work programs are even a really viable option for that when approached with the right intentions.
Seriously, I really urge you to do some reading about mass incarceration, racial disparities in incarceration, the privatization of the prison industry, etc. if you’re going to have an opinion on this stuff because ignorance isn’t a good look on anyone.
Ok I would really like to add a spin onto this.
1st person - you are SO wrong. Murderers, violent offenders never see the outside of a prison fence for their work details. Let alone given a (very real) opportunity to run. Say. While fighting a fire. The people given these work details are low level offenders. Even STILL people who are higher security, violent offenders do deserve the chance to work in risk free, appropriate environments. You do not get to use someone’s crimes to justify inhumane treatment.
Prisoners should be paid for their work. 100% there is no argument there. And prison is certainly a form of slavery, racial disparity and privatization prove that time and time again.
But prison work really can reform inmates. I want to offer just one example.
My mother is a prisoner in Georgia. Non-violent repeat drug offender. Currently serving a very very hefty sentence for selling meth.
She was also a fire fighter. With 20 fellow inmates. The re-incarceration rate of women who participate in this program is 1 for every 20. The women serve as fire fighters without pay. For 3 years, or the time of their release. They are trained. Certified. Allowed to work outside the prison fences. Allowed to work as firefighters after their release.
This is my mother. In prison.
again, during training.
Addiction, repeat prison sentences, domestic violence and poverty are all battles my mom has to fight. Her prison work details help her have something to be proud of. She constantly talks about this detail. She talks about fighting fires in Georgia mountains. Doing search and rescues for lost campers. Saving homes and farms, and people from fires. It’s one of the only things in her adult life she can be proud of. She has moved on to a different one (helping women study for and obtain their GEDs) and soon she’ll be requesting to move to another (working on a farm in southern Georgia. She likes farming.) But this is something that I hang onto because its one of the only good things I’ve ever seen my mother do.
She is probably a rare bird. Maybe her program(s) are way different?To my knowledge she has never been forced into a specific detail. She is indeed forced to work, but they (inmates) get to choose to at least some degree. Maybe it’s different for female inmates? Maybe it varies drastically by state?
One good program doesn’t negate the abuse that happens in all the others. I would however point out, there isn’t a single quote from an inmate describing their experience or their feelings on this.