In 1898, some 73% of Alabama’s entire annual state revenue came from convict leasing.
There were two types of slavery in the post-Civil War USA south:
1) Convict leasing, where the States generated much revenue and where business owners got very cheap labor (even cheaper than having slaves)
2) Peonage, which meant being in debt and paying off that debt.
Peonage was far more criminal than convict leasing. Law-abiding citizens were arrested on fake charges, then told they had to pay a ‘fine’. They could not afford to pay that fine.
Then someone would step in (this was all set up) and pay that fine. And in order to pay back that money, they had to work for free for a very long time … how long? Nobody said.