Exploitative Wages For People Moving Bodies

Prison barb wire
Via Pxhere
William Anderson
November 25, 2020

Prisoners are only getting paid $2 an hour to transport dead bodies that are piling up because of the pandemic. As morgues run out of space, prisoners’ overlooked and exploited labor is being used to counter the surging death toll. This underscores a risky trend.

Despite being some of the most vulnerable to COVID-19, prisoners have taken on the weight of offsetting our country’s careless response to the unprecedented crisis. In El Paso, Texas, this job is said to be “totally voluntary.” But we know it’s not that simple.

Texas has surpassed one million cases of COVID-19, and tens of thousands have died. Hundreds more have died in state custody. It’s not just Texas, either. 

As far back as April, mass graves were being dug by prisoners in New York to fill with bodies piling up from COVID-19.

Prisoners were also making hand sanitizer throughout the nation and being coerced into slave-like conditions to make masks.

Prisoners also fought fires in California, another extremely dangerous job.

People in prisons and jails are being treated as expendable slave labor, doing the most dangerous jobs for extremely low pay, while Black people also disproportionately die from this pandemic. 

If things continue this way, there will be hundreds of thousands more to bury – and we can guess by whom.

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