Complaint charges that civilly detained child support debtors are forced to work in dangerous recycling center for $5.00 a day. Former detainees are asking for damages and a change of policy.
Three former civil detainees of Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania filed a proposed class action complaint alleging that the County, the private company that owns and operates the Lackawanna County Recycling Center, and other private and public defendants forced hundreds of child support debtors in Lackawanna County to work at the Recycling Center for $5.00 per day under atrocious conditions. The Plaintiffs allege that the Defendants extracted their nearly-free labor by requiring them to work in the Center as a condition of eligibility for work release programs, under which they would have been able to earn money to support their children. The alleged conduct, which Plaintiffs allege violates vital protections against slavery and indentured servitude, allowed public agencies and private corporations and their owners to reap profits from the labor of captive and exploited workers. Plaintiffs are seeking damages and asking that the Defendants change their policy.
This case is part of a broader fight against forced and coerced labor in the criminal and civil justice systems. Towards Justice is proud to support these former detainees, along with co-counsel from Community Justice Project and Handley Farah & Anderson.
Press Release: Former Detainees Challenge Forced Labor Practices
The Times Tribune: LACKAWANNA COUNTY SUED OVER USE OF PRISONERS AT RECYCLING CENTER
The Times Tribune: TRASH FOR CASH, County solicitor: Halting of inmate labor at recycling center won’t impact pending lawsuit