The women in this jail - who work every day in local factories, restaurants, and offices - are paid the same wages as other employees in their workplace. But the prisoners receive a mere $45 out of each paycheck to cover their expenses, plus $140 a month to purchase clothes, work supplies, and other necessities. The State of Alabama takes 32.5 percent of their gross pay for "room and board," plus $4 a day for transportation to and from work. Those prisoners sentenced to pay "restitution" for conviction on theft charges have another 25 percent taken out of their weekly pay. What little remains of their check is deposited in an account they receive upon release from prison. Meanwhile, the state collects interest.
Even the $45 weekly stipend can be arbitrarily reduced to
$20 if prison officials decide the inmates have "failed
inspection" of their dormitories. Failing inspection means
the workers get no $140 allotment that month for all other
necessities. They also lose all weekend passes and family
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