Under the system of convict leasing, persons convicted of criminal offenses were contracted out to private businessmen, planters, and corporations to serve their prison sentences laboring in coal and phosphate mines, turpentine farms, lumber and naval stores operations, brickyards, sawmills, and sugar and cotton plantations. In return for an annual fee for each prisoner that was paid to local and/or state governments, these private entrepreneurs were to work, clothe, house, and discipline men, women, and children. Several northern states, including New York, leased ...

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