Prison labor programs in the United States violate fundamental human rights, a new report finds.

Incarcerated workers generate billions of dollars’ worth of goods and services annually but get paid pennies per hour without proper training or opportunity to build skills for careers after release, according to the nationwide report from the University of Chicago Law School’s Global Human Rights Clinic and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The report, “Captive Labor: Exploitation of Incarcerated Workers,” highlights how incarcerated workers’ labor helps maintain prisons and provides vital public services. The report also calls for far-reaching reforms to ensure prison labor is truly voluntary and that incarcerated workers are paid fairly, properly trained, and able to gain transferable skills.

“As our report describes in detail, the labor conditions of incarcerated workers in many US prisons violate the most fundamental human rights to life and dignity,” says clinical professor Claudia Flores, the director of the Global Human Rights Clinic.

“In any other workplace, these conditions would be shocking and plainly unlawful. The many incarcerated workers we interviewed told us story after story of inadequate equipment and training, punishments doled out if workers refused to labor, and an overall helplessness to a government institution functioning as both jailer and boss.”

Read the full article about prison labor programs at Futurity.