Pre-Trial Inmates Are Not Slaves!

  • By: Lynn Hamilton
  • Target: Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility, South Burlington, Vermont

Finbar McGarry was not even a convicted criminal, but he was effectively sentenced to hard labor at Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in Vermont. Prison officials at the county jail told McGarry he had but two choices--work in the laundry for an insulting 25 cents an hour OR go into solitary confinement, known locally as "the hole." 

McGarry, whose charges were later dropped, is understandably suing for damages. He was basically enslaved--in direct violation of the 13th amendment which abolished involuntary servitude. A recent survey found that way too many prison inmates are awaiting trial. They are not convicts, but they are serving jail time because they--or their families--can't afford bail. It is a clear violation of human and civil rights to make citizens who are innocent until proven guilty do hard labor for less than minimum wage!

Tell Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility to stop making slaves of its inmates! 

We the undersigned are appalled that Finbar McGarry was basically forced into slavery while he was awaiting trial in your prison.

You offered McGarry an impossible choice--solitary confinement or labor that was effectively unpaid. He was not even a convicted criminal. He and many other inmates are in jail awaiting trial because they cannot make bail--even when they pose no threat to the community. Letting the rich roam free while awaiting trial while imprisoning the poor basically creates debtor's prisons--which are supposed to have been outlawed!

Stop making slaves of your inmates. Pay them minimum wage or better for their work, and don't force those awaiting trial into involuntary servitude! 

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