Coalition to Abolish Prison Slavery at Iowa

Student Organization Interest Form

The criminal justice system disproportionately impacts people of color, Black/African-Americans, Latino/a/x, Indigenous, low-socioeconomic, disabled/mental health condition, and other marginalized communities.

The 13th amendment abolished slavery, however it included a lesser known clause. Section 1 states: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime…shall exist within the United States.”

Iowa Prison Industries (IPI) is a $25 million dollar enterprise that pays incarcerated workers anywhere from 58 cents to $1.92 per hr.

But do they really make that much?

We broke down the numbers in IPI’s 2021 PICEP report.

Juxtapose with IPI HVAC Coordinator or Customer Service rep.

It’s naive to completely abolish prison labor because these wages can be a lifeline for some incarcerated workers.

End the 13th Amendment Exception

While prison wages are a fraction of federal minimum wage of $7.25, the exception also strips equal protections of incarcerated workers’ right to Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), OSHA regulations, Right to Organize, Protest, or Strike, Title VII, and Age Discrimination in employment.

IPI supplies University of Iowa with (but not limited to):

$13,947,572 has been spent on IPI purchases through the University of Iowa since 1997. We’re working on additional FOIA requests.

Coalition to Abolish Prison Slavery (CAPS) at Iowa was formed in December 2021 to let UI faculty and local legislators know we are not okay with furniture and goods produced with the exception loophole.

We demand state legislators abolish the 13th amendment exception within our state constitution.

We demand that UI cease all voluntary purchases and contracts with IPI until the exception is abolished.

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End the exception