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US Prisoners Are Going on Strike to Protest a Massive Forced Labor System

Society & Culture  (tags: prison strike, 45 year Anniversary of Attica, hunger strike, prison plantation, USA )

- 857 days ago -
Prisoners end up doing work for private companies such as Victoria Secret, Whole Foods or Walmart. Inmates receive very little pay for their labor in federal prisons it ranges from $0.12 to $0.40 an hour. More Corporate welfare prison labor.


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Lone F (58)
Friday September 9, 2016, 5:59 pm
Noted - thanks dear Dandelion

Rose Becke (141)
Friday September 9, 2016, 6:48 pm
That is slave labor

Darren Woolsey (218)
Friday September 9, 2016, 11:47 pm
Shared to spread awareness.

Private companies are only interested in profit, and because the perception of "criminals" is seen mostly negatively by most people, I would wage that the mass majority of people don't care a less.

What is obviously missing is the exploitative nature of this system, as Rose intimates, and as Daryl hints at, but doesn't say directly, if people's talents and ability to work were cultivated properly, you would have a healthier society.

Sheryl G (359)
Saturday September 10, 2016, 5:04 am
Something to do is one thing, teach them a skill they can use on the outside and assist them with securing jobs once out. This is not done.

What IS happening here is the FOR PROFIT prisons, that the taxpayers are supporting, and getting rich off of our dime, are cutting back the food rations and hiking up the extra foods that can be bought within the prison by the prisoners.

As the article said, some prisoners make ZERO for this working and if they REFUSE they can be punished by being thrown in solitary or having extra time added onto their sentence.

Some prisoners earn only 9 cents a MONTH. Some earn 14 cents an hour and a high of 40 cents an hour. If these prisoners are being cut back on their food rations and being worked against the will, then being at the end of the day CHARGED for even obtaining aspirin or to purchase a little extra food. This makes it too hard to do.

You know who is paying to keep their loved ones alive? The already hurting families left behind that are in struggle themselves. With Welfare Reform that Bill Clinton started in 1996 there is little help now for those families in combination with the lack of jobs or living wage jobs.

Not to mention the jobs they could be having are now being done by the prisoners for free or almost free.

I really wished that people would READ these articles I've been placing onto C2 News so they would really UNDERSTAND what is being done to us ALL. Behind bars and outside of the prison.

How can we improve a Country if few understand what is going on. Even when the material is presented to them on C2.

Animae C (508)
Saturday September 10, 2016, 6:27 am

Barb SiteIssues V (202)
Saturday September 10, 2016, 11:55 am
Noted, Thank you

Darren Woolsey (218)
Saturday September 10, 2016, 3:17 pm
Reshared over social media to spread awareness.

Judy C (91)
Saturday September 10, 2016, 7:38 pm
This certainly is slavery, and should never be allowed under any circumstances. Anyone who works anywhere should get at least the minimum wage. I will not buy any products from companies that I find out have been taking advantage of this situation. I was not aware that all federal and state prisoners were required to work. If that's the case, they certainly should be allowed to unionize. This would be a good way to enhance the self-esteem of the inmates. This could help reduce recidivism, and possibly make them more employable when they are released. This strike is good way to commemorate the horrific Attica riots. Thanks Dandelion.

Darren Woolsey (218)
Saturday September 10, 2016, 11:39 pm
It's a question of packaging and marketing is this.
Because of conditioning, your average right-winger sees nothing amiss about a person in prison slaving away at a job.
Slavery has taken on a new form in very low wage paying jobs, where it's either that or the Benefits system.

Sandra Penna (135)
Sunday September 11, 2016, 5:37 am
Thanks for sharing, Dandelion. You said it all in your comment.

Birgit W (160)
Sunday September 11, 2016, 3:28 pm
I agree with Rose, AniMae and Judy. Thanks for sharing Dandelion.

Lois Jordan (63)
Sunday September 11, 2016, 3:53 pm
Noted. Thanks for posting, Dandelion.

So much of the right-wing media has demonized those behind bars for so long, (as Darren mentioned above), that it's no surprise this was allowed to happen and continues. They are "The Other" who does not deserve hot meals and education to serve them in the future. That's one reason why Arpaio's Tent City in Phoenix has lasted so long.
Judy's above comment was excellent, but I'll go a step further and liken it more to indentured slavery. Although there's no 'contract'---they are indentured by their prison sentence.
Besides the strike raising awareness, I hope some Congressional action takes place regarding this. Although, since Congress will be in session only until the end of the month, I think they're going to focus on passing the budget and making sure the military is once again over-funded.
But, I am definitely glad to see this strike happen and hope they have some success in changing this.

Freya H (345)
Sunday September 11, 2016, 6:45 pm
Every job given to an inmate for slave wages is a job snatched away from working people desperate for employment. One word explains this: GREED.

To those who say "Hey, they're prisoners, they're criminals, they got what they deserve - they shouldn't be in a country-club environment, and this work will help them pay their debt to society and re-enter the world." I have just three things to say: HA, HA, HA! Most inmates are doing time for non-violent crimes, and in many prisons the conditions are downright inhumane. Also, their work does not really help them develop valuable job skills.

Wendi M (9)
Sunday September 11, 2016, 7:18 pm
TYFS Noted
It's amazing that our Government just keeps finding anyway possible for people to have jobs we are now stooping so low that rather than shipping jobs to Foreign Countries we can. keep them here and pay even less because we will pay our Prisoners almost nothing truly there isn't any end to the amount of Corporate Greed

Jeff Creech (64)
Sunday September 11, 2016, 7:49 pm
Thank you Dandelion, I read an article about this from a tweet, I know how these rich corporations always finding ways of exploiting Labor at the lowest cost possible. The government seems to always find ways of supporting these companies. Geez, you'd think all our politicians were corrupt or something.

Shirley S (187)
Sunday September 11, 2016, 10:56 pm
The rich get rich no matter what & the poor get poorer.

Arild Gone for now (174)
Monday September 12, 2016, 2:44 am
No wonder they go on strike against this slave labour.

Winn A (179)
Monday September 12, 2016, 7:02 am

Sheryl G (359)
Monday September 12, 2016, 7:29 pm
To get extra food a can of something to drink is $2 if one only earns at best 40 cents an hour but most much less or even zero, think how long a person must work just to get something to drink beyond what is provided.

As I said, the private prisons have cut back on how much inmates are being fed to the point they are always hungry then they are forced to work hungry. Not all who are in prison are murderers and rapist, the majority of the people are there for nonviolent crimes and some are even innocent. Even if they are there for a worse crime we show our humanity on how we treat the least of those.

Colleen L (3)
Monday September 12, 2016, 11:32 pm
Thanks Dandelion

Julie W (33)
Tuesday September 13, 2016, 12:05 am
I'm totally opposed to prisoners working for companies that make a profit, that's completely unethical. Better that they save the taxpayer money by working for government, local shires. or charities.

Re minimum wage, I think a prisoner should be paid a reasonable wage, but remember he/she has no outgoing expenses like the rest of us. No rent, transport costs, food and groceries, medical costs and other regular bills. All costs are currently paid by the taxpayer.

Joanne p (13)
Tuesday September 13, 2016, 2:35 am

Cyn F (137)
Tuesday September 13, 2016, 11:15 am
Noted. Ty

Mandi T (366)
Tuesday September 13, 2016, 12:44 pm
TY Sheryl

Janet B (0)
Tuesday September 13, 2016, 12:48 pm

Sheryl G (359)
Tuesday September 13, 2016, 1:48 pm
I agree, if the prisoner is doing something to save the taxpayers money, and he isn't forced to do it, then less of a financial compensation. However, if he is working for a Private Firm and they make a profit off of his or her labor then they should receive minimum wage. I'm tired of these companies exploiting people and denying a job to those on the outside trying to pay those bills you mention Julie.

Margie FOURIE (148)
Wednesday September 14, 2016, 1:05 am
Prisioners should have NO rights.

Leo C (312)
Wednesday September 14, 2016, 6:33 am
Thank you for posting!

margaret cochran (41)
Wednesday September 14, 2016, 1:44 pm

Marc P (50)
Wednesday September 14, 2016, 1:52 pm
In Connecticut where I am heavily involved in prison activism, there are not enough jobs for most inmates so instead they are warehoused in cells for 22 hours a day. The highest non industries pay is $17.50 a week, and most jobs pay about half that. Worse, Connecticut charges inmates for the cost of incarceration. Connecticut takes a percentage of every inmate's pay, and takes a percentage of whatever money family sends them. After release, should an ex con ever win a lawsuit or inherit a house, the State comes after that too. Meanwhile our Governor, Dannel Malloy, boasts about how he went to Germany to see how their prison systems work, and how he is such a great supporter of prison reform... BULL!

Marc P (50)
Wednesday September 14, 2016, 1:54 pm
The biggest problem inmates face is the Prison litigation Reform Act of 1996, which President Clinton signed into law. In order for any REAL reform to take place the PLRA MUST be repealed. And I see no movement trying to make that happen.

Sheryl G (359)
Wednesday September 14, 2016, 2:40 pm
Thank you Marc for furthering our information on these deplorable conditions. Basically you never are free long after you are out of prison as they hold this over you forever - try getting a good job afterwards. Most crimes are non violent - that is an important reminder.

Yes Bill Clinton did a lot of harm to this Country in more ways than one. He did what the Republicans had been trying to do. Thanks Dem's. And now we have Clinton heading for the White House again in the form of his wife - have mercy upon us.

Janet B (0)
Wednesday September 14, 2016, 2:59 pm

Darren Woolsey (218)
Wednesday September 14, 2016, 3:41 pm
"Prisioners should have NO rights."

Is that an absolute statement covering ALL prisoners, irrespective of crime committed?

foteini H (23)
Wednesday September 14, 2016, 4:25 pm
Totally unfair but prisoners in other countries don't get paid at all...Very Interesting article, thanks Dandelion. Please sign all petitions about prisoners or prisons/jail etc THANK YOU!

Marc P (50)
Wednesday September 14, 2016, 5:29 pm
Margie: If you really think that prisoners should have no rights then maybe you are living in the wrong country. In the U.S. our founding fathers had ETHICS, and realized that every person, regardless of their status in life, has basic, God given Rights. The fact that these rights are indisputable can be summed up by reading the following quote:
"The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials, and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One's right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections." - Justice Robert Jackson - These principles have been woven into the fabric of our country, as intellectually sound people recognize that in order to defend YOUR rights, the rights of even the worst of the worst must be protected -
"Sometimes we need to give even the Devil the benefit of the law. Why? Because if all laws are cut down and the Devil turns 'round on us, where could we hide? None of us could withstand the winds that would blow then."
-Robert Bolt in his play "A Man For All Seasons"

Sheryl G (359)
Wednesday September 14, 2016, 5:55 pm
I see Margie lives in South Africa so perhaps we should be pleased we don't live there Marc - but even there I suspect the prisoners have some rights. Perhaps her comment was triggered more by the photo than having actually read the article - because what is happening within the prisons is also hurting non prisoners or the people outside in the streets living in their homes. The ole' what goes around comes around.

She has on her profile page What Bugs Me people with no respect for others So I'd say, even prisoners deserves the respect of at least their humanity. When we don't respect that much, as you say, if we don't it turns on us all.

I'm not sure how it is in South Africa, but I know in the USA the MAJORITY of the people behind bars had NO trial AND are for NON violent offenses. When they come out they will enter society again, how we treat them behind bars is going to be what we get from them when they come back out. Let us not send a drug abuser to prison and turn him into a person who now hates the world.

Darren Woolsey (218)
Thursday September 15, 2016, 12:04 am
Margie can speak for herself, but my broad understanding is that South Africa has suffered from the same stupidity of differentiation and division, with Apartheid, as Indians have suffered under the Caste System, as Britains have suffered under the Class System, as most of us generally suffer under the Corporate Capitalist system, that is, the Have's vs. the Have Not's, in terms of wealth, privileged background, etc.

The situation in America is bizarre and obviously unhealthy, where you can be incarcerated on a whim, and then left in prison for long periods of time.

Obviously, if anyone who considered themselves of significance in terms of their wealth or background, had to endure the same thing, things would change, rapidly.

Darren Woolsey (218)
Thursday September 15, 2016, 12:46 am
It's also my belief that the concept of "Bail" is essentially a mechanism brought in to try and deal with the overwhelming number of cases required to be given hearing and trial. Were we to have a healthier non-corrupt system, I don't think "Bail" would be necessary.

Janet B (0)
Thursday September 15, 2016, 5:54 pm

Esther Lance (74)
Friday September 16, 2016, 3:11 am
Noted. Thank you Dandelion, for the info.

Margie FOURIE (148)
Friday September 16, 2016, 4:16 am
Thank you

Janet B (0)
Friday September 16, 2016, 12:59 pm

Barbara A (0)
Friday September 16, 2016, 9:27 pm

Margie FOURIE (148)
Saturday September 17, 2016, 5:29 am
Thank you

Lenore K (0)
Tuesday September 20, 2016, 2:10 pm

Margie FOURIE (148)
Thursday October 6, 2016, 1:34 am
Thank you

Margie FOURIE (148)
Thursday October 6, 2016, 1:55 am
Thank you agian

Charmaine M (11)
Sunday October 23, 2016, 2:08 pm
Noted. Shocking that this forced slave labour is happening in a first world country!

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Gina Caracci (219)
Saturday December 10, 2016, 5:08 pm
well of course this is happening...they would make school children do it if the parents didnt find out about it
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