Consider what the free market could do with an endless supply of labor this cheap, exploitable, and union-proof. And they’re right here in America! 285 reblog by Ben Smith.
Made in Prison: The Rise of America’s New Labour Class
This is a picture of 6 California Inmate Firefighters. They work for $1 a day, and risk their lives.
In the past, America has put it’s inmate population to work. These inmates perform tasks that may surprise you. They are now assisting in the production of million dollar Patriot missiles and F-16 fighter jets for the United States military.
The government program that has organized inmate labor is called UNICOR. It is a for-profit organization, and it’s mission is to “employ and provide job skills training to the greatest practicable number of inmates”. For 23 cents an hour.
The deal is that these inmates will work for low wages, and decrease their sentences if they work well and are cooperative. They provide services to companies such as Boeing, Victoria’s Secret, Martori Farms (a supplier to Wal-Mart), and Microsoft, just to name a few.
Now, while I do disagree with the writer on how he says he thinks these inmate workers should be paid how ever much a free citizen gets paid for the task, I am still shocked at how these working inmates are treated, and how long the hours they have to work for such little pay.
One female inmate from Arizona said this.
“They wake us up between 2:30 and 3am and kick us out of our housing unit by 3:30am. We get fed at 4am… We are forced to work in the blazing sun for eight hours. We run out of water several times a day. We ran out of sunscreen several times a week. They don’t check medical backgrounds or ages before they pull women for these jobs. Many of us cannot do it! If we stop working and sit on the bus or even just take an unauthorized break, we get a major ticket which takes away our ‘good time’.”
This woman’s story is an outrage, and a reform in the policy regarding inmate labor should change and strictly be enforced by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
Article by Mohamed Huque
Photo by dreyboblue / Flickr