“The state was leasing these prisoners out to private companies for a fee, in a practice known all across the South as convict leasing. In states like Texas, Florida, Georgia and Alabama , prisoners were also used to help build railroads, cut timber, make bricks, pick cotton and grow sugar on plantations.” A joint project from AP and Center for Investigative Reporting: The prison labor that built business empires. Listen to the podcast version at CIR.