Apparently, Finbar McGarry was being held in a county jail, awaiting trial. He had not yet been found guilty, but merely was unable to afford bail. So, like so many in his tax bracket, he found himself a guest at the Graybar Hilton. When he refused to do labor, he was threatened with solitary confinement.
Eventually, he made it to court where he was found innocent. However, he is now suing the state of Vermont for 11 million bucks.
Here’s some of what Attorney Graham has to say on the matter.
The reality is that we DID outlaw slavery in the Constitution. The reality is also that we frequently force inmates to work (chain gangs and the like). However, this guy was in pre-trial and forced to work. That’s the difference here. He was not sentenced yet – innocent until proven guilty, etc. I am happy to see the Court ruling for him, but it has certainly not reached the highest appellate level, so this is still not the end of the story.
I would also point out that this man was not convicted AND that the consequences for failing to work for 25¢ an hour were INSANELY DRACONIAN – getting put in “the hole.” While guards have to be careful of everyone in jail, you don’t put a prisoner awaiting trial in the hole for refusing to take a job.Even more, the article points out we have thousands of individuals sitting in jail on the public’s tax dollar who are really no threat to the community but they can’t make bail. If that doesn’t make people unhappy, I don’t know what will. They should release these people to save the taxpayers a lot of money.