Exclusive: study finds county relies on laborers – largely people of color – threatened with debts and jail to do work that would otherwise be paid

Los Angeles courts force roughly 100,000 people to do weeks and even months of “community service” each year, exposing some of them to exploitative and hazardous working conditions without enjoying basic labor rights and protections, according to a first-of-its-kind study.

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers analyzing court-mandated community service also found that government departments and not-for-profit organizations rely on workers threatened with debts and jail time to complete labor that would otherwise be paid – and that those impacted are overwhelmingly people of color.

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Read More 'Work or go to jail': how LA courts force thousands to do unpaid labor

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