Journalist uncovers women's prison camp at Hickman’s Family Farms

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Wednesday, March 1, 2023 - 12:04pm
Updated: Thursday, March 2, 2023 - 7:51am

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hickmans family farms egg ranch chicken sign
Casey Kuhn/KJZZ
Hickman's Family Farms in Buckeye.

At the start of the pandemic, prisoners who worked off site were largely sent back to prison. The work stopped — and with it the meager amount of money they earned to pay for things like regular soap and toothpaste. 

At Perryville women’s prison in Goodyear, most of those jobs stopped in March 2020 — except for those at Hickman’s Family Farms, where many of the state’s eggs come from and one of the state’s prison system’s largest clients.

For the first time ever, the women who worked at Hickman’s were sent to live on Hickman’s property — in what freelance journalist Elizabeth Whitman says amounted to a prison camp — so they could continue the back-breaking work. 

Whitman has been writing about Hickman’s for years. She has a new piece out in Cosmopolitan about the women who were sent to live at Hickman’s during the pandemic.

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