Legal Aid Society


Op-Ed: End New York’s Prison Slavery System

The Legal Aid Society’s Attorney-in-Chief and Chief Executive Officer Twyla Carter teamed with State Senator Zellnor Myrie and Assemblyman Harvey Epstein for a new op-ed in the Times Union calling for New York lawmakers to pass the 13th Forward Bill Package in the coming legislative session. The bills would abolish slavery without exception in NY’s constitution and extend workers’ protections to incarcerated New Yorkers.

“Incarcerated New Yorkers operate similarly as ‘slaves of the state,’ forced to staff hundreds of jobs, from prison maintenance to the production of essential state goods including classroom furniture, street signs, and police gear,” they write. “They are deprived of basic workplace health and safety protections, and wages range from just 16 to 65 cents an hour. Punishment for refusing to work includes solitary confinement and extended incarceration through loss of good-time credits.”

“It is time for New York to turn the page and fulfill the promise of abolition,” the piece continues. “We must amend our constitution to outlaw slavery — including forced labor. It is far from a radical proposition to demand that every worker in New York be treated with dignity and respect. ”

Read the full piece here.