Is the Prison Complex a Revision of Slavery?


  • Kadah Marshall Florida Atlantic University


Many think of slavery as the brutal practice of forcing someone to work hard without paying them a fair wage, sometimes without paying them at all. Britannica defines slavery in this manner: Slavery may be defined as a condition in which one human being was owned by another, and it was considered by law as property, or chattel, and was deprived of most of the rights ordinarily held by free persons. This definition has been used to describe today's prison system. Others point to the Thirteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as justification for the current practice of requiring prisoners to work for pennies a day. The current prison system has been constructed as a mirror image of slavery because of their use of unfair wages, the willingness to capitalize on the plight and reality of being incarcerated, and the excessive sentencing that has become a part of our judicial criminal justice system.