News of Clinton Using Prison Labor as First Lady of Arkansas Causes Social Media to Erupt


Social media erupted this week over news that Hillary Clinton used prisoners as laborers when she was the first lady of Arkansas.

Twitter user @JeanetteJing on Tuesday tweeted a screenshot of a passage from Clinton's 1996 book It Takes a Village, in which she writes about using prison labor while living in the Arkansas governor's mansion. Jing appears to be a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), putting the hashtags #BernieWouldaWon and #PoliticalRevolution in her profile description. She has tweeted several times in support of Sanders.

The tweet about Clinton's time as first lady of Arkansas soon spread across Twitter, triggering a backlash against the former Democratic presidential candidate.

"When we moved in, I was told that using prison labor at the governor's mansion was a longstanding tradition, which kept down costs," Clinton wrote. "I was apprehensive, but I agreed to abide by the tradition until I had a chance to see for myself how the inmates behaved around me and my family."

Clinton described how many of the laborers were convicted murderers and how they were preferred over those convicted of property crimes. She also noted that many of the prisoners who worked in the governor's mansion were black.

"I discovered, as I had been told I would, that we had far fewer disciplinary problems with inmates who were in for murder than those who had committed property crimes," Clinton wrote. "In fact, over the years we lived there we became friendly with a few of them, African-American men in their thirties who had already served twelve to eighteen years of their sentences."

Social media erupted with strong reaction to Clinton's words. Samuel Sinyangwe, co-founder of Campaign Zero, a group linked to the Black Lives Matter movement, could not believe the news and retweeted people who compared the prison labor to modern day slavery.

Andrew Kugle   Email | Full Bio | RSS
Andrew Kugle is the assistant social media editor for the Washington Free Beacon. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 2013. Prior to joining the Free Beacon, he worked as a Staff/Press Assistant for South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem. Andrew is from De Pere, Wisconsin and lives in D.C. His Twitter handle is @AndrewJKugle. You can reach him at

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