The New South and the New Slavery

Convict Labor in Georgia

End of the Convict Lease System

Following the state's investigation of prison camps in 1897, the Georgia State Prison Farm in Milledgeville was built in 1899 to house female, juvenile, and infirm prisoners. Governor Hoke Smith and the Georgia General Assembly abolished the convict lease system in 1908. For private businesses, the economic repercussions were severe. Without access to cheap labor, many brick and mining companies collapsed, and iron and coal production suffered major financial blows. The same bill that stipulated the end of the lease system, however, outlined a new system of forced carceral labor: the state-run chain gang.