Forced Labor? Georgia's Anti-Immigrant Law Is Pushing Probationers Into Farm Work
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The Department of Corrections presents the suggestion to use probationers as a labor force as a novel and elegant solution to the farmworker shortage in Georgia. It claims that “[t]he decision to take advantage of this employment opportunity is the probationers [sic],” but how true is this when seeking employment is a mandatory component of parole? With probation officers leaning on parolees and farm jobs going begging, the pressure to participate in the field labor program is going to mount, and may present a probationer with the stark choice of fields or prison. Given the “option” of returning to the bowels of the fifth largest correctional system in the United States, one known for brutal living conditions and disparities, or participating in unfamiliar, potentially dangerous work, most probationers are going to be picking up a shovel.
s.e. smith is a frequent stirrer-of-pots, agitator, and writer. Follow smith on Twitter: @sesmithwrites.