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The details of vice, cruelty and death thus fostered by the states whose treasuries are enriched thereby, equals anything from Siberia. Men, women and children are herded together like cattle in the filthiest quarters and chained together while at work. (The Reason, 1893).

The private owners and contractors who leased convicts were not only given a cheap form of labor, they were held responsible for the feeding, clothing, and housing the prisoners. Often, prisoners were worked to death and replaced by others. While slaveholders had some incentive to take care of their property, those leasing convicts did not. Convict leasing remained in place from immediately after the Civil War until 1928, when Alabama, the final state utilizing convict leasing, discontinued the practice.

Little Known Black History Fact: Convict Leasing  was originally published on

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