(RepublicanDaily.org) – The so-called “prison-industrial complex” has been a source of controversy for decades now. As America’s inmate population spiraled upward in the latter half of the 20th century, private organizations found various ways to make a profit. Recently, a high-profile lawsuit has resulted in a big win for prisoners’ rights advocates.
On Wednesday, October 27, a federal jury ruled that GEO Group, a multibillion-dollar prison company, must pay its incarcerated workers the state minimum wage. The minimum wage in Washington, where this lawsuit arose, is $13.69 an hour. The ruling also requires the company to issue back pay to detained workers, which will cost around $17.3 million.
According to the lawsuit, inmates working at the Northwest ICE Processing Center have received a dollar a day in pay since at least 2005. The suit also stated that the facility sometimes gave prisoners extra food instead of monetary payment.
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson was pleased with this outcome. He claimed the court victory showed that the state of Washington would not allow corporations to profit by exploiting human rights.
#BREAKING: Federal jury agrees GEO Group the for-profit operator of the Northwest ICE Processing Center, violates Washington’s minimum wage laws by paying detainee workers only $1 per day. More to come. pic.twitter.com/syscwbqchc
— Attorney General Bob Ferguson (@AGOWA) October 27, 2021
GEO Group, which operates 57 detention facilities across the United States and took in more than $2 billion in revenues last year, is expected to appeal the ruling.
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