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Andrea Armstrong

On Tuesday, May 21, 2024, Loyola University New Orleans Dr. Norman C. Francis Distinguished Professor of Law Andrea Armstrong testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism on the state of prison labor in America.

A leading expert in carceral conditions, Professor Armstrong has visited and studied prisons and jails across the country, giving her a deep understanding of carceral work and the laws and policies that govern it.

Professor Armstrong shared during the hearing, “Incarceration law and incarceration labor touches us all. Some of us send money to support a loved one behind bars because they only earn pennies a day. This hurts rural, poor and minority communities in particular. Some of us buy goods from private corporations that were produced with prison labor, and prisons are also our institutions. They operate in our name with our tax dollars, and when incarcerated labor is exploitative, it undermines public trust and legitimacy of our criminal justice system.”

In order to advocate for more just and humane conditions for our siblings behind bars, the Office of Justice and Ecology has endorsed a package of four bills sponsored by Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey to end unjust labor practices in correctional facilities in our country: the Combating Workplace Discrimination in Correctional Facilities Act, the Correctional Facilities Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Ensuring Work Opportunities in Correctional Facilities Act, and the Fair Wages for Incarcerated Workers Act.

Watch the full testimony.