The New South and the New Slavery

Convict Labor in Georgia

Calls for Prison Reform

Video clip of protesters outside Georgia State Capitol urging wages to be paid to Reidsville prisoners for their labor, Sept. 22, 1978. Courtesy of Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, WSB-TV newsfilm collection.

Protests and publications calling for changes to the prison system put pressure on Georgia officials to institute further reform with a particular focus on those imprisoned for minor offenses, juveniles in adult prisons, the use of roadside work gangs, and wages for prisoners’ labor. In 1963 Georgia governor Carl E. Sanders initiated a rehabilitation center with a vocational school to be built in Alto for juvenile males under the age of twenty-one. The Georgia Department of Transportation discontinued its use of road gangs in 1973. And protests outside the State Capitol in 1978 urged Georgia to pay its prisoners a wage for their labor.