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U.S. Prisoners Work as Slaves for Major Corporations

Submitted by Thinking CAP on Sun, Feb 5, 2012 - 9:24 pm

Not the most recent news item, but I’m sure this abuse hasn’t ceased.

This is your country on Drug War. Dear Prohibitionists, you will be held responsible. When I said you all would be the eternal servants of others, I wasn’t kidding; your reward will be — just like God promised — how you treated others.

What Do Prisoners Make for Victoria's Secret?

From Starbucks to Microsoft: a sampling of what US inmates make, and for whom

Tens of thousands of US inmates are paid from pennies to minimum wage—minus fines and victim compensation—for everything from grunt work to firefighting to specialized labor.

From the article here is a smattering of what they do:

  • California inmates process more than 680,000 pounds of beef, 400,000 pounds of chicken products, 450,000 gallons of milk, 280,000 loaves of bread, and 2.9 million eggs
  • package holiday coffees
  • shrink-wrapped software and up to 20,000 Microsoft mouses for subcontractor Exmark
  • Texas and California inmates make dorm furniture and lockers, diploma covers, binders, logbooks, library book carts, locker room benches, and juice boxes
  • wiring harnesses for jets and tanks; airplane components
  • and much more …

What concerns me most is the gross over-criminalization of things that are not crimes against others (or God), like drug use, and the multitude of other things legislators have fashioned to be crimes.

That said, I am not against making, or at least offering, some form of work to some in prison such that their wages go towards recompense. And certainly teaching various skills has enormous potential for those who will leave prison. But there needs to be careful thought given to the companies allowed to participate. First off I don’t think any publicly traded companies should be allowed to participate. Next I would probably try to limit participation to companies that will actually hire their formerly incarcerated workers. And so forth …