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May 21st, 2024 2 Minute Read Testimony by Charles Fain Lehman

Testimony Before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism

Charles Fain Lehman testified in a hearing titled An Examination of Prison Labor in America.

Watch the full testimony here.

Thank you to the Committee for the opportunity to address you. As you are well aware, there are some 1.2 million people in American prisons today, including over 150,000 in federal custody. 95 percent of these will eventually return home. A key question for today’s hearing, then, is whether those men and women’s experience of work in prison will prepare them for the world outside.

I am a public-policy analyst; my professional interest is in assessing the relationship
between policy and social outcomes. I am not here to make a judgement on the legal or normative merits of prison labor. Rather, I aim to advance a simple argument: having prisoners work improves their employability post-release, and consequently reduces their recidivism risk. While the specifics matter, prison labor should be viewed as a key part of rehabilitation, not an impediment to it.

Click here to read the full testimony.


Charles Fain Lehman is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal


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