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NNN0LHI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 06:43 AM
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Republicans have a wonderful new jobs program waiting for us

The Hidden History of ALEC and Prison Labor

Mike Elk and Bob Sloan
August 1, 2011

The breaded chicken patty your child bites into at school may have been made by a worker earning twenty cents an hour, not in a faraway country, but by a member of an invisible American workforce: prisoners. At the Union Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison in Florida, inmates from a nearby lower-security prison manufacture tons of processed beef, chicken and pork for Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises (PRIDE), a privately held non-profit corporation that operates the states forty-one work programs. In addition to processed food, PRIDEs website reveals an array of products for sale through contracts with private companies, from eyeglasses to office furniture, to be shipped from a distribution center in Florida to businesses across the US. PRIDE boasts that its work programs are designed to provide vocational training, to improve prison security, to reduce the cost of state government, and to promote the rehabilitation of the state inmates.

Although a wide variety of goods have long been produced by state and federal prisoners for the US governmentlicense plates are the classic example, with more recent contracts including everything from guided missile parts to the solar panels powering government buildingsprison labor for the private sector was legally barred for years, to avoid unfair competition with private companies. But this has changed thanks to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), its Prison Industries Act, and a little-known federal program known as PIE (the Prison Industries Enhancement Certification Program). While much has been written about prison labor in the past several years, these forces, which have driven its expansion, remain largely unknown.

Somewhat more familiar is ALECs instrumental role in the explosion of the US prison population in the past few decades. ALEC helped pioneer some of the toughest sentencing laws on the books today, like mandatory minimums for non-violent drug offenders, three strikes laws, and truth in sentencing laws. In 1995 alone, ALECs Truth in Sentencing Act was signed into law in twenty-five states. (Then State Rep. Scott Walker was an ALEC member when he sponsored Wisconsin's truth-in-sentencing laws and, according to PR Watch, used its statistics to make the case for the law.) More recently, ALEC has proposed innovative solutions to the overcrowding it helped create, such as privatizing the parole process through the proven success of the private bail bond industry, as it recommended in 2007. (The American Bail Coalition is an executive member of ALECs Public Safety and Elections Task Force.) ALEC has also worked to pass state laws to create private for-profit prisons, a boon to two of its major corporate sponsors: Corrections Corporation of America and Geo Group (formerly Wackenhut Corrections), the largest private prison firms in the country. An In These Times investigation last summer revealed that ALEC arranged secret meetings between Arizonas state legislators and CCA to draft what became SB 1070, Arizonas notorious immigration law, to keep CCA prisons flush with immigrant detainees. ALEC has proven expertly capable of devising endless ways to help private corporations benefit from the countrys massive prison population.

That mass incarceration would create a huge captive workforce was anticipated long before the US prison population reached its peakand at a time when the concept of rehabilitation was still considered part of the mission of prisons. First created by Congress in 1979, the PIE program was designed to encourage states and units of local government to establish employment opportunities for prisoners that approximate private sector work opportunities, according to PRIDEs website. The benefits to big corporations were cleara readily available workforce for the private sector and a cost-effective way to occupy a portion of the ever-growing offender/inmate population for prison officialsyet from its founding until the mid-1990s, few states participated in the program.

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durablend Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 07:30 AM
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1. Well just think...
Once those pesky minimum wage laws are abolished, we too will be able to experience the joys that prison workers work under!

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gordianot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 08:42 AM
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2. How little can you get paid to qualify for slave labor?
Where is Spartacus when you need him?
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pnorman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 10:19 AM
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3. K&R!
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 10:33 AM
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4. Reminds me of the piece I wrote about GW's job plan
Congrats (former) Middle Class !

Posted by SoCalDem in General Discussion

Mon Feb 23rd 2009, 06:02 PM

Wall Street Experts & Bankers have a plan for your future

That comfy well-paying job you still have or may have recently lost, or fear losing, is no problem to worry your pretty mind over anymore.

You need Re-training for the " NEW Service Economy" .

Yes, that's right, folks. That degree that you slaved to get, and are still paying for 15 years later, may no longer be part of the globalization plan. It just is not practical or profitable anymore..

Outsourced jobs are just a fact of life in the New Age .. it's nothing personal.

You may start salivating when you see ads for Fancy Feast on tv, but don't worry, the Chinese assure us they have removed the melamine.

The beauty of the plan is that while you are "Re-training" you use your Visa and or Master Card to make that house payment, car payment and other bills (until they reduce the limit to $500.00, or cancel it).

When you are though with your Re-training , you can sell that house to the many entrepreneurs who will be eagerly buying up houses in this bargain-housing extravaganza. Maybe one of them will even hire you to distribute flyers to other soon-to-be sellers.. In a NEW Service Economy there are many ways to make money.

If you give him/her a good enough "deal" on your former house, you might even be able to rent it, and never again have to worry about the upkeep on it. It's a win-win.

The job you originally trained for may have come with a health care benefits program and some paid vacation, but surely your "new career" as a "sub-service worker" will afford you adventurous living like you've never experienced before.

Multiple part time jobs offer you the opportunity to get to know a wide variety of new people, and the experience of learning how MANY businesses do their business. It will definitely cut down on the old one-job/one-career stagnation that so many Americans have suffered from for far too long.

You may have the opportunity to learn to cook..(and, in some restaurants they even give you a discount on food for your break), or to make reservations to exciting destinations.... or to discover the inner workings of a developing child's mind and personality, as you do daycare,....or you could become an environmentalist as you carefully test automobile could bridge the generation gap while you tend to the needs of the Greatest Generation ..(imagine the stories they will tell you as you change their diapers/bedding)

Like to work outdoors? The NEW Service Economy offers you opportunities too...School children will always need to cross streets carefully... commune with nature as you do leaf need TLC too, and that cool water on a hot day feels pretty good... Lawn care is a highly sought-after job, and by taking one, you are doing your part in "Border Security"..(Every anglo who washes cars & does lawns, eliminates the need for a guest worker to come here for that job)

Fruits & vegetables are good for you, and as a fruit extraction engineer, you will have easy access to many nutritious foods, all day long.(be sure and wipe them off before you eat them as you pick them, though)

Even our former-president values manual labor, and he works in the great outdoors, cutting brush, as often as his busy schedule allows.

This is an opportunity... a challenge..a widening vista.. It's an embrace it without fear.

Money is the root of all evil, and downsizing is good for the soul. That big house you used to fret about, and struggle to keep the lawn mowed, and to keep the house maintained..? well fear not.. A nice tidy, personal-sized apartment is the wave of the future. You will be on the cutting edge of the "new way forward".

No more need for those wasteful gym memberships.. Take an apartment on the 3rd floor.. Who needs a Stair-master when you can climb those stairs for free? (add groceries and/or laundry, and think of the pounds you will lose)..

An apartment also has other advantages.. It will encourage those obnoxious kids to finally move out on their own. They can surely find a service job , and an apartment of their own.

Younger kids will thank you, since they will now get the opportunity to really get to know their siblings, by sharing a room, and by spending quality sibling-time as they prepare meals together and wait for you to come home from one of your jobs. They will be so happy to see you, and will hang on your every word, as you recount the vivid experiences of your day.

Apartments also are often conveniently located near medical services. When you look for your apartment, be sure to look for signs that advertise their services. They often say "Clinica Familia"..

Which brings me to the best part. Diversity.. You too can experience the excitement of living abroad as you downsize.. WITHOUT EVER HAVING TO LEAVE THE GOOD OLE US of A.

It's a well-known fact that the most recent immigrants to our country , tend to cluster in apartment-zones, so you can even learn a foreign language, and never have to pay high prices for those Berlitz tapes..

Apartments are also usually located near bus routes, so you can get rid of that pesky car, too. Your new service job providers will be happy to work with you to accommodate your new exciting schedule.

The transformation to the NEW Service Economization of America will be like nothing we have ever seen before, and you will be a pioneer on the brink of the future..

The New Sub-Middle Class is lean, and fit, and hungry for the New Success that awaits them.

Congratulations!.. You've earned it
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