Stop Virginia's Contribution to Prison Slavery

Stop Virginia's Contribution to Prison Slavery

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Hoomane Reform started this petition to Virginia State House and

HoomaneReform is a student-run group at the University of Virginia whose goal is to reduce the university's contribution to mass incarceration and prison labor. 

By Virginia law, publicly funded Universities and institutions are required to contribute to mass incarceration by purchasing goods produced from prison labor. Created by the Virginia General Assembly, the Virginia Correctional Enterprises (VCE) claims to provide a "work program to produce goods and services for agencies of the Commonwealth" (VCE Website). VCE is a self-supporting agency that employs offenders in Virginia's correctional centers and these workers earn as little as $0.55-$0.80 an hour. At these rates, it would take up to 18 hours of labor to afford a $10 phone call, and this is not including the fact that VADOC can garnish up to 90% of these prisoners' paychecks. These low wages allow for VCE to sell products for low prices to universities in Virginia. 

The purchasing and production of these products serves as an incentive to keep people incarcerated. The state of Virginia is benefiting off of prison labor by being provided with cheap furniture to sell to their public institutions, ultimately saving money by being able cut funding. Although this saves the state money, us students are uncomfortable sleeping and studying on furniture produced from what is borderline slavery. 

Sign this petition to ask Virginia's government to appeal the law requiring publicly-funded universities to purchase from organizations that benefit from mass incarceration. 

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