Jail Labor Rights in Focus as third Cir. Hears $5-a-Day Pay Case

A federal appeals court in Philadelphia will hear oral argument Thursday about whether to revive a class lawsuit alleging a Pennsylvania county prison’s work program amounts to forced labor in violation of state and federal law and the US Constitution.

Prisoners civilly detained for failure to pay child support are challenging the alleged forced-labor scheme at Lackawanna County Prison, which requires them to work for half their term at a privately owned recycling facility for $5 a day to qualify for a work-release program.

They say they can’t earn enough money to pay their “purge” amounts to get out of …

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