Inmates: Jail Made Us Work for Free

Former inmates at a private Nashville jail allege they worked for free while serving time, building products including bean-bag “cornhole” games and dog beds for prison officials’ personal business, according to an AP report published Sunday. Though prisoners can legally be required to work for free, jail employees are prohibited from profiting off of inmate labor. Ex-inmates Larry Stephney and Charles Brew claim Stand Firm Designs, which is run by two jail employees and one former employee, forces prisoners to work on products without pay in the jail’s woodshop. The products were sold at the Nashville Flea Market and through its website, the two ex-inmates said. The former prisoners also claim the employees took product orders from guards and other jail officials. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is reportedly looking into allegations of misuse of inmate labor at the jail, which is run by Corrections Corporation of America—the nation’s largest private prison operator.