By Fabio Teixeira/Reuters

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - Cash-strapped Rio de Janeiro is accused of using prisoners as volunteer workers to maintain jails in a move that human rights experts said was illegal and akin to slavery.

Brazil's penal system has long relied on cheap prison labor in its overcrowded, under-funded jails, with inmates cooking, cleaning, and maintaining quarters in return for a small allowance and slightly reduced sentences.

Prisoners are also paid to make goods such as bricks or ice for private companies that pay the state for their labor.

But last July, a resolution enacted . . .

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