Campaign Update:

May 2018: Pressure is mounting as two new cases have been brought against CoreCivic where plaintiffs allege forced labor, in Texas earlier this year, and Georgia, last month. Both cases are ongoing.

Help stop forced labor in U.S. detention

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“…detainees began to work in the kitchen just so they could eat more…one detainee lost 68 lbs. Their ‘volunteering’ involved literally working for food.”1

Immigrants detained in a private prison in San Diego allege that they have been subjected to forced labor and threatened with solitary confinement or restricted visitation rights if they refused to work.2

The complainants say the company that owns the prison, CoreCivic, one of the largest private prison companies in the US, pays at most $1.50 per day, and sometimes nothing at all, for their work as kitchen staff, janitors, barbers and in various other roles.

But reports of forced labor are not isolated to immigration detention centers. In Oklahoma, offenders sentenced to rehabilitation end up forced into labor on chicken farms, without any recourse or access to an actual recovery program.3 Prisoners in California are forced into labor and made to risk their lives fighting the state’s wildfires for a dollar an hour or less.4

Forced labor in prisons is not an immigration issue, it’s an American one, replicated worldwide.

The United States is home to the largest prison system in the world, housing 25% of the world’s prisoners but only 5% of the global population, and spends more than $80 billion a year. Incarceration rates in the United States have increased by 700% in the last four decades, even though crime has dramatically decreased.5 Among those incarcerated, more than 60% are people of color. And Black men are six times more likely to be incarcerated than white men.6

This system of mass incarceration – at a rate per capita that surpasses every country on earth – is inherently discriminatory, disproportionately affecting communities of color while creating a never-ending pool of people to be exploited through forced labor in prisons and detention centers across the country for corporate gain.

Rolling back President Obama’s progress on minimizing private prison industry contracts, President Trump has called for an increase of prisons and detainment centers by upwards of 450%, perpetuating and embedding a system that exploits people of color for private benefit.7

The Thirteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which intended to end slavery, shockingly permits its use as a punishment for crime.8 CoreCivic claims to align with international standards but over the years has faced multiple complaints for violating prisoners’ rights.9

CoreCivic must address allegations of forced labor, state that forced labor will not be tolerated, and raise wages for voluntary work by prisoners and detainees, that is comparable with free labor, to help stop exploitation.

CoreCivic is also currently facing another class-action complaint for allegedly attempting to defraud its investors by falsely representing improved operational policies and procedures around the rights and dignity of prisoners and detainees in multiple centers.10 We must speak out and let them know forced labor in detention is unacceptable.

Will you join us in helping to stop slavery in prison?


  8.!/amendments/13/essays/166/abolition-of-slavery11  It does not provide for the use of slavery against civil detainees in immigration centers. Additionally, regulations introduced in 2015 aim to end trafficking in government contracting. 

    Minimum international standards around the use of prison labor are outlined in the International Labour Organization’s Forced Labor Convention. It states that prisoners, just as free persons, must not be forced to work under threat of penalty or loss of privileges. Furthermore, wages should be comparable to those of free workers and health and safety measures should be taken as well.12–en/index.htm#Q3

  • May 2018: Pressure is mounting as two new cases have been brought against CoreCivic where plaintiffs allege forced labor, in Texas earlier this year, and Georgia, last month. Both cases are ongoing.

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70 Comment threads
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Vania TerzopoulouJennie BloomDaniel WalkerGlenis MooreGerry Recent comment authors
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Vania Terzopoulou
Vania Terzopoulou

Emancipation Day I hope at least they sleep well if I was a slave at least is want a good sleep and I mean it genuinely
I have been studying it since I was 13 all this stuff and yes I really know we are very sorry for this and that the world must change in the end to accommodate reality which it doesn’t yet accommodate

Glenis Moore
Glenis Moore

I am deeply shocked that some human beings will steal other human beings from their lives and put them to work for their own profit by enslavement. This is surely the worst kind of theft there is. I,shine how you’d feel if someone stole your car or your house and refused to let you back in. Now picture someone gains total control of your life. Appalling.

Daniel Walker
Daniel Walker

Theft…nice way to put it.


Criminals should work to pay back the billions of dollars a year we pay in tax to keep them in 4 star lifestyles.

Jennie Bloom

So you don’t object to paying tax to prison profiteers in whose interest it is to “find” criminals so that people like you can blame the victim. It’s called divide and rule. Gerry

Tom Lindsey
Tom Lindsey

This whole world is so far of track from where it should be in this stage of our evolution. Those 1%er’s should be spending that money to help the rest of us. If it wasn’t for their greed there would be no reason for slavery nor homelessness NOR WAR!

Billy Angus


CoreCivic: Help stop forced labor in the U.S. prison and detention system and one more word and another word and maybe one more

16,178 actions of 20,000 goal

To: Damon T. Hininger, President and CEO, CoreCivic

We welcome CoreCivic’s stated commitment to human rights laid out in your Human Rights Policy Statement1 but express our deep concern regarding recent allegations of forced labor in the Otay Mesa Detention Center set out in a pending class action lawsuit, which suggests this commitment is not being met.

Noting the allegations against CoreCivic, the increasing use of forced labor against civil detainees in immigration centers, and as one of the country’s largest providers of prison and detention services, we urge CoreCivic to:

– Address forced labor allegations at Otay Mesa and provide remediation where required;

– Add explicit language denouncing forced labor to the company’s Human Rights Policy Statement, with measures to verify that it is enforced and enacted across all company sites; and

– Raise the wages paid to detainees for voluntary work to a level that is comparable for free workers, as set out in International Labour Organization standards.

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