Last year, Ben Conarck of the Florida Times Union wrote an outline of the labor camps where Florida does most of its work. Everyone, from civil servants to private companies, uses the incredibly cheap labor that enables our country's high levels of detention. Aside from the questionable morality of using cheap labor provided by a racist and flawed detention system, the lack of transparency in the actual working conditions of this workforce is appalling.
Florida and the University of Florida have been dealing with unpaid inmate labor for decades. According to Conarck's assessmentThe University of Florida does more prison work than any other college in the state, much of it in its agricultural research centers. The flagship university has done at least 156,684 hours of state prison work since 2015. “That is well over 6,500 days of free work over a period of four years.
Ending the use of unpaid inmate labor is a very important step in incentivizing our current detention system, which was set up to restore the racist slave labor on which our country was built.