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Why aren't we talking about this--Modern Slave Labor

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Horse with no Name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-24-05 08:13 PM
Original message
Why aren't we talking about this--Modern Slave Labor
Edited on Fri Jun-24-05 08:34 PM by Horse with no Name
I am removing this post from a thread earlier because I feel it deserves it's own post. Great work from dutchdemocrat.

dutchdemocrat (1000+ posts) Fri Jun-24-05 12:04 AM
Response to Original message
8. Slave Labour in Prisons
it's all part of the master plan.... Gotta' have some more bodies to crank out cheap labor to make goods for the elite...

Slave Labor in Utah

Prosecutor has jobs for medical marijuana users

Iron County Attorney Scott Burns (R) is creating a state sponsored scab labor force

Prosecutor Scott Burns is so addicted to cheap non-union labor that he is willing to throw the book at medical marijuana patients in Utah to put them in prison run sweatshops. Pending U.S. Senate confirmation he will head the part of the Drug Czars office that focuses on individual users of illegal drugs. They could very well end up making costumes for T.V. shows like E.R.

Scott Burns, if confirmed, will include medical-marijuana patients in the federal prison industry program. He will echo Congressman Bob Barrs mantra no marijuana use is medical and off to prison they go. His appointment is a vote to broaden the scope of prison industries to include a lot more people and steal a lot of good jobs from people who are not in prison.

Medical marijuana patients as prison labor

Utah prisons run like the company store. The prisoners pay the guards. The more prisoners, the more guard jobs. The prosecutor is the gatekeeper.

In Utah prisoners are being used as scabs: union-busters, cheap labor. Over 25% of state prison inmates work for Utah Correctional Industries. As prison laborers they have no rights. They are paid a small salary and the costs of their prison housing, food and guards are deducted from that salary. Marijuana smokers are perfect workers for this system because theyre a minority and society has accepted them as criminals for more than 70 years.

The state of Utah buys almost everything from prison industries shifting state purchasing contracts from the free market to state run sweatshops. This trend creates jobs for state police and prison guards but makes it harder for people who arent in prison to find work.

Need a Job? Go to Jail.

In the year 2000 Utahs state owned prison industry sold the labor of over 900 people to American businesses. This lowers the paychecks and bargaining position of remaining workers in these businesses by pitting them against prisoners with no rights at all who can do their jobs for almost nothing. (I.e. Northern Outfitters 87 workers, telemarketing for SandStar Entertainment and Inmark 217 workers, Asbestos 37 workers, Waste Recycling 78 and much more.)

Instead of making commitments to real paid (or unionized) employees Utah Correctional Industries invites producers to set up shop inside prison walls. T.V. programs like Chicago Hope, Touched By An Angel and Early Edition are already buying prison made clothing.

Scott Burns is radical in that he will include medical marijuana patients in prison labor industries. Prison labor makes working people in Utah accept smaller paychecks or lose their jobs entirely. Explains CCU legislative analyst John Entwistle, We fear he will take this approach with him into the Drug Czars office and create a federal army of scabs while targeting patients in the name of federal supremacy.

Prison Factories:
Slave Labor for the New World Order?

by Charles Overbeck
Matrix Editor

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. ParaScope will be keeping a close eye on the trend towards prison labor; stay tuned for future updates on the situation.

For more information, see the sources below, or consult the Prison Activist Resource Center. ...

My reply to this was IF they paid fair wages for this work, then they wouldn't be prison jobs--they would be jobs in the private sector which would boost our country's economy. In fact--I think the people that have their panties in a wad over illegals taking their jobs should be furious over prisoners taking them.
IF they paid the prisoner fair wages--two good things could come out of this. When they were released from prison they would have a chance to start their life again without AGAIN being put in a desperate situation OR in the case of violent offenses, then they could pay the victim compensation.
Slave wages are a BAD thing overall...the only ones that win are again...the corporations.

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Mythsaje Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-24-05 08:19 PM
Response to Original message
1. And this is different
from the Nazi slave labor camps, how? This Utah shit is a joke...Medical Marijuana users and advocates are political activists--throwing them in prison to be used as forced labor is the SAME as jailing dissidents like China or Russia.

The War On (Some) Drugs puts yet another brick in the wall between the free nation we are supposed to be, and the fascist state we're becoming.

Let's all cheer...they now know how to solve the drug problem!
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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-24-05 08:32 PM
Response to Original message
2. thanks for these links....
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Horse with no Name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-24-05 08:46 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. All credit goes to Dutchdemocrat.
All I did was pull it out of another post because I felt it deserved its own post.
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Eric J in MN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-24-05 08:41 PM
Response to Original message
3. The US has the #1 incarceration rate.
We should let prisoners vote so at least they have some rights.
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