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Your Gear Made by Prison Labor?
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“No. Not in China. Right here in the good ole US of A.
Slave Labor for the New World Order?
Is America's inmate population being converted into a slave labor force?
http://www.parascope.com/articles/0197/prison.htm " target="_blank"> by Charles Overbeck
The Justice Department reported in August that there are nearly 1.6 million men and women incarcerated in the United States -- currently the highest incarceration rate in the entire world. This startling figure tops off a decade of rapid expansion of America's prison population, fueled by a "war on drugs" that is steadily undermining the rights so succinctly expressed in the Bill of Rights more than 200 years ago.
As 1995 drew to a close, one out of every 167 Americans was in prison or jail, compared to one out of 320 in 1985, when the crack cocaine trade began to proliferate. The total number of inmates has more than doubled in the past decade, and we just can't seem to build enough prisons to keep them all in.
Add the trend towards private prison facility management and corporate use of prison labor, and you have an extremely unsettling social situation. Are we witnessing the creation of a slave labor force for the corporate New World Order?
Quite possibly, if the Oakhill Correctional Institute in Dane County, Wisconsin serves as a model. Seventeen inmates crowded in a makeshift basement factory in that facility crank out over a million dollars' worth of office chairs per year, in exchange for wages ranging from twenty cents to $1.50 per hour.
The operation is run by Badger State Industries, the Wisconsin prison industries program, which employs 600 inmates and which raked in a $1.2 million profit in 1995. In the past, to protect manufacturers from unfair competition, Wisconsin allowed sale of prison-made goods only to state and local government agencies. But Governor Tommy Thompson's new state budget allows commercial entities to use prison facilities and labor for manufacturing purposes. The money will be used to pay for the costs of incarcerating the prisoners -- including the ones who work in the factories.
Wisconsin is following the lead of other states, such as California, Tennessee, Kansas, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Nevada and Iowa, which have incorporated prisoners into the labor force, placing artificial downward pressure on wages. Thousands of state and federal prisoners are currently generating more than $1 billion per year in sales for private businesses, often competing directly with the private sector labor force. The Correctional Industries Association predicts that by the year 2000, 30 percent of America's inmate population will labor to create nearly $9 billion in sales for private business interests.
Oregon has even started advertising its prison labor force and factories, claiming that businesses who utilize incarcerated workers would otherwise go overseas for cheap labor (thanks, GATT and NAFTA!). In 1995, an overwhelming majority of Oregon voters passed a constitutional amendment that will put 100 percent of its state inmates to work.
And they'll be making a lot more than license plates and road signs. One product of Oregon's inmate factories are uniforms for McDonald's. Tennessee inmates stitch together jeans for Kmart and JC Penney, as well as $80 wooden rocking ponies for Eddie Bauer. Mattresses and furniture are perennial favorites in prison factories, and Ohio inmates even produced car parts for Honda, until the United Auto Workers intervened. Prisoners have been employed doing data entry, assembling computer circuit boards and even taking credit card ticket orders for TWA.
But private industry isn't the only sector eager to exploit cheap prison labor. On June 14, 1995, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly rejected an amendment to the 1996 Defense Authorization bill which would have permitted the Defense Department to use nonviolent offender inmates provided by state or local corrections facilities to do construction and maintenance services at military installations.
Although prison manufacturing facilities do offer short-term benefits at a time when budgets are strained to the breaking point, the system is ripe for exploitation and abuse by government and corporate entities seeking to cut financial corners. Proponents of prison labor say it is "good" for inmates, providing income and on-the-job training they would have never received otherwise.
But due to a lack of restrictions to prevent abuse of the prison labor force, many inmates view the situation very differently. At Soledad near Monterey, California, prisoners earn 45 cents per hour making blue work shirts, which, once deductions are taken out, adds up to $60 for a month of 40-hour work weeks. "They put you on a machine and expect you to put out for them," Soledad inmate Dino Navarrete told Arm the Spirit. "Nobody wants to do that. These jobs are jokes to most inmates here."
So why do they do it? In California, prisoners who refuse to work are moved to discliplinary housing and lose canteen priveleges, as well as "good time" credit that slices hard time off their sentences. Corporatization of prison labor abuses inmates, exploits their labor and inevitably reduces the value of the private sector work force. What is a troubling trend today may become a social and economic disaster in the future.”
“I have a case of freeze-dried meals made by Jeffrey Dahmer...”
“Interesting I didn't know those facts. I think the prison labor would be of better use say cleaning up trash and things of that nature. If they want them work manufacturing things they should at least pay min. wage.
But I don't they should get earn that money. People in the honest workforce need the money and jobs.
Prison should be a hard so you don't want to go back!
The public should get the word out and boycot these items.”
“Here in the California State University system we are supposed to purchase all of office furniture from the prision industries system. However, it is overpriced, unattractive, and no one wants it. I think there may better uses for inmate "slave labor" than that. I could use someone to grade homework for me.”
“I think it is a good thing to have those who have violated the rights of others working to pay their way in prison. Those so-called victimless crimes... well, I'm not so sure.
If someone is guilty of assault, have him work while he is in prison and pay his way. It ain't cheap to house that guy. And since he violated the rights of some one else, I think it would be a great object lesson for him to lose a few rights, even having to work for peanuts. Take his earnings at minimum wage, deduct the cost of imprisoning him, and then let him have what's left to maybe pay the mortgage for his house, or what ever.”
“Excellent, at least they are doing something productive. Anything to pay back society for their crimes and couldn't care less whether they are exploited or not. Maybe next time they'll think twice before committing a crime. While I'm sure their are some awefull prisons, I'm tired hearing about the country club ones, the free internet access, free cable, free education etc. They are to be punished, not rewarded...err some reformed if possible.”
“whatever happened to breaking rocks with a sledgehammer. That's what I'd like to see all these damned CEO's working on.”
“I want to see them sharing a cell with a lonely guy named Bubba.”
“Could they make some TT t-shirts?”
“The municipal Government of Reno uses them to manufacture, move, and assemble office furniture. The City Hall and several other departments (mine included) are moving to a new building this year. I for one am happy that all I have to do is pack and lable my boxes, then the prisoners come and get everything including desk and computer, and move it to the new building and set up the computer on the LAN.
I don't know how they feel about doing this job or if they get paid, but it would have to be better than being in the prison all day.”
Here in Chicago, the trash clean up is the job of people who are doing "community service," primarily people who have been convicted of misdemeanors. They have a choice of going to jail or "doing community service."
I can't speak about the office furniture, but not sure I would want my students' or children's homework graded by the inmates in Illinois jails.”
“I think any money they get earn should go the victims family (if applicable) as restitution. In some countries if you kill the bread earner you have to support the victims family.
I believe part of the problem with the North American justice system is if one commits a crime it is against the state not the citizen - thereby minimizing the impact of their crime.”
“No one is being forced to do this labor.
But if someone wishes to learn a craft or skill, show their reliability and work ethic, show that they are re-ha-bil-a-tat-ed, pick up a few bucks (thats the American way, right) I think they should be considered for earlier release than the "bump on the log."
Screw 'em. Iff'n they don't like the wage, quietly do the time or better yet, stay out of the "big house."”
“Tommy Thompson is no longer the Governor in Wisconson, he's in Washington, but what he did for the state welfare system was great! Workfare....no more handouts, so why not in prisons! These low-lifes desided to give up their freedom and now their butt belongs to the state...period!”
“Hammock Hanger: For non-capital and some criminal offenses, the Old Testament talks about a principle (often called called "restitution") where the victim is compensated by the offender.”
“Screw it, I'd rather have Kathy Lee's kids make my #&%!$.”
“Uphill Klimber I like your thoughts. They should have to pay their upkeep. It costs on average 50 to 60 thousand a year to keep each one of them in there! ( this statistic comes from my husband Steve)
So therefore you (everyone) and I have to keep them up! Gee don't that sound fair????
Well that doesn't happen here. My sugestion was just that they do something to help somewhere.
Hey I don like that sledgehammer thing tooo.”
“In the dystopia portrayed in the movie Brazil, people were charged for their interrogation. In an interview shown on a television playing in the background the Deputy Prime Minister says:
The check delivered to Mrs. Buttle had a charge deducted for Mr. Buttle’s interrogation during which he was killed. He was falsely arrested because a technician squashed a beetle on a page which changed the name from Tuttle to Buttle.
When Sam strapped into the chair at the torture chamber, the police officer advised him: "Don't fight it son, confess quickly. If you hold out too long, you could jeopardize your credit rating."
In real life, the Nazis were known to charge Jews for their forced passage to the concentration camps.”
“This is the solution to the cost of California prisons;[url] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11949543[/url]”
“link doesn't work.”
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