Prison Labor

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by Sky Dancer, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. Sky Dancer
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    Sky Dancer BANNED

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    Prisoners earning 23 cents an hour in U.S. federal prisons are manufacturing high-tech electronic components for Patriot Advanced Capability 3 missiles, launchers for TOW (Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided) anti-tank missiles, and other guided missile systems. The expanding use of prison industries, which pay slave wages, as a way to increase profits for giant military corporations, is a frontal attack on the rights of all workers.

    Prison labor — with no union protection, overtime pay, vacation days, pensions, benefits, health and safety protection, or Social Security withholding — also makes complex components for McDonnell Douglas/Boeing’s F-15 fighter aircraft, the General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin F-16, and Bell/Textron’s Cobra helicopter. Prison labor produces night-vision goggles, body armor, camouflage uniforms, radio and communication devices, and lighting systems and components for 30-mm to 300-mm battleship anti-aircraft guns, along with land mine sweepers and electro-optical equipment for the BAE Systems Bradley Fighting Vehicle’s laser rangefinder. Prisoners recycle toxic electronic equipment and overhaul military vehicles.

    Labor in federal prisons is contracted out by UNICOR, previously known as Federal Prison Industries, a quasi-public, for-profit corporation run by the Bureau of Prisons. In 14 prison factories, more than 3,000 prisoners manufacture electronic equipment for land, sea and airborne communication. UNICOR is now the U.S. government’s 39th largest contractor, with 110 factories at 79 federal penitentiaries.


    The majority of UNICOR’s products and services are on contract to orders from the Department of Defense. Giant multinational corporations purchase parts assembled at some of the lowest labor rates in the world, then resell the finished weapons components at the highest rates of profit. For example, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Corporation subcontract components, then assemble and sell advanced weapons systems to the Pentagon.

    Increased profits, unhealthy workplaces

    However, the Pentagon is not the only buyer. U.S. corporations are the world’s largest arms dealers, while weapons and aircraft are the largest U.S. export. The U.S. State Department, Department of Defense and diplomats pressure NATO members and dependent countries around the world into multibillion-dollar weapons purchases that generate further corporate profits, often leaving many countries mired in enormous debt.
    The Pentagon and Slave Labor in U.S. Prisons

    But the fact that the capitalist state has found yet another way to drastically undercut union workers’ wages and ensure still higher profits to military corporations — whose weapons wreak such havoc around the world — is an ominous development.
     
  2. martybegan
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    martybegan Gold Member

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    You are only using the amount paid to the prisoner. Not included is what the feds get that covers the prisoners food, housing, health care, and other expenses.

    I'm sure the feds bill the prisoner's time out at a much higher, and more competitive rate.
     
  3. Sky Dancer
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    Sky Dancer BANNED

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    The United States has less than 5% of the world’s population, but we incarcerate 25% of all the prisoners in the world. We leave China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and all the other nations we like to look down our noses at far in the dust. We not only lockup more of our citizens than all totalitarian nations, we even lockup more people than China which has more than 4 times the number of Americans, and India which has almost 4 times the number of Americans, and Iran COMBINED. The US not only leads in the numbers of prisoners but far outpace China when measured per capita. We rank 1st among all nations with 715 prisoners per 100,000 people. China, ranks 71st with 119 prisoners per 100,000 people.

    US leaders love to point out China as a violator of human rights and their penchant for slave and prison labor. While it’s principled to point out abuses by the Chinese, Americans should also recognize that slavery is not only legal in the US, it’s also practiced. The 13th Amendment authorizes it, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” The key word here is “except” and being convicted of a crime in the United States is that exception.

    In today’s America, drug laws have become the new Jim Crow laws, the prison/industrial complex has become the new plantation, and the warden has become the new overseer. America’s newest slaves aren’t picking cotton.
    Slavery, the Prison/Industrial Complex, and American Hypocrisy | Green Commons
     
  4. AmericanFirst
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    AmericanFirst Gold Member

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    Being a retired federal correctional officer, too bad. If inmates do not want to be inmates they can stop committing crimes. Before you start, I have rarely met an inmate that didn't deserve to be in prison.
     
  5. Sky Dancer
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    Sky Dancer BANNED

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    The Constitution’s 13th amendment, ratified in 1865, abolished slavery in the United States, but provided an exception—in cases where persons have been “duly convicted” in the United States and territory it controls, slavery or involuntary servitude can be reimposed as a punishment, they add.

    The majority of prisoners are Black and Latino, though they are minorities in terms of their numbers in the general population.

    Corporate profit from prisons are no different than how slave owners received benefit from their labor, and that impact remained even after slavery.
     
  6. lizzie
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    lizzie Zen Warrior Supporting Member

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    I'd rather be spending money to train and teach prisoners some type of skill, and give them something productive to do, than for my tax dollars to go toward paying public union bennies when the unions have planned poorly and squandered their resources.
     
  7. zzzz
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    zzzz Just a regular American

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    It is a very lucrative enterprise for private industries. The Feds are not the only ones doing this, many state DOC's are actively seeking industries to relocate inside their walls. I know of one company that started out about 10 years ago with a small part in a prison and now they have relocated almost 50% of their production in one states prison. The closed down one plant in Mississippi and laid off people in another.

    The objective to train inmates skills is admirable but upon release who is going to hire them so the training is useless. But in the process men and women who are trying to make a living are being denied jobs or are having jobs taken from them.
     
  8. FactFinder
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    What would you have them do? Sit in a cell all day?They didn't go to prison to profit from it.

    Hell, sounds like they are being trained in skills they can use.
     
  9. FactFinder
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    FactFinder VIP Member

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    FYI This sounds like it belongs in the Politics thread or at least somewhere else.
     
  10. Big Black Dog
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    Big Black Dog Gold Member Supporting Member

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    With as many prisons as there are, and all of them being greatly filled, there is a big pool of folks to gather a work force. You should never see a scrap of paper along side of a highway again. Get them off their asses and put them all to work. Any money they earn can be repaid to the State for their room and board.
     

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