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Seattle to stop using convicts to clear homeless camps

Seattle homeless encampment

SEATTLE — City officials in Seattle say they will no longer use state corrections crews for homeless encampment cleanups after the city’s Human Rights Commission raised concerns over the use of prison labor.

The Seattle Times reports that city has used state crews from the Department of Correction for more than 20 years to clean up illegal dumping sites, which included cleaning up unauthorized encampments.

The Human Rights Commission adopted a resolution Monday calling on the city to stop using the crews, adding that is prison labor has long been considered a “vestige of slavery.”

Julie Moore, the Seattle spokeswoman, says the city stopped using the crews to clean up encampments last month because of logistical reasons.

Jeremy Wood, a member of the Human Rights Commission, praised the city’s decision but added that officials could have been more transparent about the crews earlier.