Smiling farm worker picking apples.


Coerced labor, low pay, and high costs in Washington’s prisons
In the Media


People in Washington prisons are paid as little as 6% of the state minimum wage for work that benefits the Washington Department of Corrections. Their wages are then deducted from between 5 to 100% for mandatory fees such as “the cost of incarceration,” while basic goods like toothpaste and soap at the commissary can cost a day’s worth of earnings. Meanwhile, DOC-provided meals lack sufficient nutrition and people are forced to buy additional food through the commissary for survival.

While the experiences shared in Overcharged are shocking, they should not be surprising. The mass incarceration and exploitation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color are deeply entrenched aspects of our economy, with roots in slavery. Through time, such exploitation has been sustained by policies such as the Black Codes, Jim Crow, segregation, and the wars on drugs and poverty. And it is being sustained by policies now. We can change those policies.

 📖 Read the full report here…


For questions or to find out more, please contact Hannah Woerner, Attorney, at or Adriana Hernandez, Communications, at

In the Media