Former VT Prison Inmate’s Slavery Lawsuit Allowed To Move Forward
BURLINGTON, VT (CBS) –A unique lawsuit filed against the state of Vermont is being allowed continue in the courts. A man is suing Vermont’s prison system, claiming they violated his 13th Amendment rights under the Constitution. The 13th Amendment bans slavery.
Finbar McGarry was a PhD student at the University of Vermont when he was arrested in December 2008 for a domestic disturbance.
Charges were eventually dropped, but for six weeks, he says he was forced to work 14-hour days in the prison laundry for $0.25 an hour. McGarry says that is slavery.
At this point I imagine that courts have found inmate labor to be constitutional. The issue isn't that, it's that he was forced to do the labor as the result of a case that never went to trial. I would think the suit should focus on that and not the nature of the labor itself.