On Air
0:00
0:00
Open In Popup
MPR News

The costs of prison labor

Share story

When the Camp Fire hit California, there were more than 1,000 inmates on the frontlines trying to control the flames. Though they worked alongside thousands of other firefighters, their pay was significantly less. Inmates were paid $2 per day plus an additional $1 per hour while fighting the fire. But, low wages for inmates are not uncommon. Earlier this year, inmates organized a 19 day protest to bring attention low wages and poor work conditions. 

Guest host Marianne Combs spoke with a labor expert and a reporter about the state of prison labor in the US. 

Guests: Ruben Garcia— Professor of law and co-director of the UNLV Workplace Law Program

Beth Schwartzapfel— Staff writer at the Marshall Project

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.