At noon on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 17), advocates with Next100, civil rights and criminal justice groups, and formerly incarcerated New Yorkers will host a virtual event to launch a campaign: #FixThe13thNY, which aims to abolish forced labor and improve wages and working conditions for people incarcerated in New York State.
The campaign is led by prominent criminal justice advocate Vidal Guzman, a Policy Entrepreneur at the Next100 think tank, who was one of the founding members of the #CLOSErikers campaign. Formerly incarcerated, Guzman is one of thousands of—predominantly Black and Latinx—New Yorkers forced to work while in prison for the shameful minimum wage of as little as $0.16/hour.
“Too many people who are incarcerated are forced to work, which is allowed by a loophole within the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery except ‘as a punishment for crime,'” Next100 said in a statement. “The #FixThe13thNY campaign will push the State Assembly and Senate to pass legislation to prohibit forced labor in prison, as well as enact other minimum wage and worker protections for incarcerated New Yorkers.”
This event is co-sponsored by Next100, The Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College, a Little Piece Of Light, the Correctional Association of New York, and Exodus Transitional Community.