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Ohio Prisoners Join Nationwide Labor Strike

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Esther Honig
/
WOSU
Khalifa Judge with the Free Ohio Movement says inmates in Ohio prisons are forced to work for as little as 11 cents an hour.

Inmates in Ohio prisons reportedly are taking part in a nationwide strike against what they say is equivalent to modern day slavery.

The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee reports that prisoners in 24 states, including four prisons in Ohio, are participating in the strike by refusing to work or eat.

Khalifa Judge with the Free Ohio Movement, was incarcerated for seven years in the Ohio and says inmates are forced to work. Many, he says, make as little as 11 cents an hour.

"It's a system of forced slavery because inmates are mandated to work. If you don't work, you go to isolation," says Judge.

Judge says low wages mean many inmates are unable to purchase simple commodities from the prison commissary  or save a small amount of money for when they're released from prison.

Due to the high security of state and federal prisons, the exact number of inmates participating in the strike is unclear.

A official with the Ohio Department of Corrections declined to comment but says that all of their facilities are operating as normal.