How Prison Labor is the New American Slavery and Most of Us Unknowingly Support it

If you buy products or services from any of the 50 companies listed below (and you likely do), you are supporting modern American slavery


American slavery was technically abolished in 1865, but a loophole in the 13th Amendment has allowed it to continue “as a punishment for crimes” well into the 21st century. Not surprisingly, corporations have lobbied for a broader and broader definition of “crime” in the last 150 years. As a result, there are more (mostly dark-skinned) people performing mandatory, essentially unpaid, hard labor in America today than there were in 1830.

With 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s prison population, the United States has the largest incarcerated population in the world. No other society in history has imprisoned more of its own citizens. There are half a million more prisoners in the U.S. than in China, which has five times our population. Approximately 1 in 100 adults in America were incarcerated in 2014.  Out of an adult population of 245 million that year, there were 2.4 million people in prison, jail or some form of detention center.

The vast majority – 86 percent – of prisoners have been locked up for non-violent, victimless crimes, many of them drug-related.

Big Business is making big bucks off of prison labor:


While prison labor helps produce goods and services for almost every big business in America, here are a few examples from an article that highlights the epidemic:

Whole Foods – You ever wonder how Whole Foods can afford to keep their prices so low (sarcasm)? Whole Foods’ coffee, chocolate and bananas might be “fair trade,” but the corporation has been offsetting the “high wages” paid to third-world producers with not-so-fair-wages here in America.

The corporation, famous for it’s animal welfare rating system, apparently was not as concerned about the welfare of the human “animals” working for them in Colorado prisons until April of this year.

You know that $12-a-pound tilapia you thought you were buying from “sustainable, American family farms?” It was raised by prisoners in Colorado, who were paid as little as 74 cents a day. And that fancy goat cheese? The goats were raised and milked by prisoners too.

McDonald’s – The world’s most successful fast food franchise purchases a plethora of goods manufactured in prisons, including plastic cutlery, containers, and uniforms. The inmates who sew McDonald’s uniforms make even less money by the hour than the people who wear them.


Wal-Mart – Although their company policy clearly states that “forced or prison labor will not be tolerated by Wal-Mart,” basically every item in their store has been supplied by third-party prison labor factories. Wal-Mart purchases its produce from prison farms, where laborers are often subjected to long hours in the blazing heat without adequate food or water.

Victoria’s Secret – Female inmates in South Carolina sew undergarments and casual-wear for the pricey lingerie company. In the late 1990’s, two prisoners were placed in solitary confinement for telling journalists that they were hired to replace “Made in Honduras” garment tags with “Made in USA” tags.

AT&T – In 1993, the massive phone company laid off thousands of telephone operators—all union members—in order to increase their profits. Even though AT&T’s company policy regarding prison labor reads eerily like Wal-Mart’s, they have consistently used inmates to work in their call centers since ’93, barely paying them $2 a day.


BP (British Petroleum) – When BP spilled 4.2 million barrels of oil into the Gulf coast, the company sent a workforce of almost exclusively African-American inmates to clean up the toxic spill while community members, many of whom were out-of-work fisherman, struggled to make ends meet. BP’s decision to use prisoners instead of hiring displaced workers outraged the Gulf community, but the oil company did nothing to reconcile the situation.


The full list of companies implicated in exploiting prison labor includes:

Bank of America
John Deere
Eli Lilly and Company
Exxon Mobil
Johnson and Johnson
Koch Industries
Procter & Gamble
ConAgra Foods

While not all prisoners are “forced” to work, most “opt” to because life would be even more miserable if they didn’t, as they have to purchase pretty much everything above the barest necessities (and sometimes those too) with their hard-earned pennies. Some of them have legal fines to pay off and families to support on the outside. Often they come out more indebted than when they went in.

Prison farms” aka “modern plantations”

prison88In places like Texas, however, prison work is mandatory and unpaid – the literal definition of slave labor.

According the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, prisoners start their day with a 3:30 a.m. wake-up call and are served breakfast at 4:30 a.m. All prisoners who are physically able are required to report to their work assignments by 6 a.m.

“Offenders are not paid for their work, but they can earn privileges as a result of good work habits,” the website says.

Most prisoners work in prison support jobs, like cooking, cleaning, laundry, and maintenance, but about 2,500 of them work in the Texas prison system’s own “agribusiness department,” where they factory-farm 10,000 beef cattle, 20,000 pigs and a quarter million egg-laying hens. The prisoners also produce 74 million pounds of livestock feed per year, 300,000 cases of canned vegetables, and enough cotton to clothe themselves (and presumably others). They also work at meat packaging plants, where they process 14 million pounds of beef and 10 million pounds of pork per year.


While one of the department’s stated goals is to reduce operational costs by having prisoners produce their own food, the prison system admittedly earns revenue from “sales of surplus agricultural production.”


Prisoners who refuse to work – again, unpaid – are placed in solitary confinement. When asked if Texas prisons still employ “chain gangs” in the FAQ section, the department responds:


“No, Texas does not use chain gangs. However, offenders working outside the perimeter fence are supervised by armed correctional officers on horseback.”

Similar “prison farms” exist in Arizona, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio and other states, where prisoners are forced to work in agriculture, logging, quarrying and mining. Wikipedia says while the agricultural goods produced on prison farms is generally used to feed prisoners and other wards of the state (orphanages and asylums) they are also sold for profit.

In addition to being forced to labor directly for the profit of the government, inmates may be “farmed out” to private enterprises, through the practice of convict leasing, to work on private agricultural lands or related industries (fishing, lumbering, etc.). The party purchasing their labor from the government generally does so at a steep discount from the cost of free labor.


RELATED: Kids Spend Less Time Outdoors Than Prisoners





550 responses to “How Prison Labor is the New American Slavery and Most of Us Unknowingly Support it”

  1. beaman Avatar

    Force is used a lot in this article and seems to generalize the situation. A good friend of mine went to jail, was offered work to shorten his sentence. Of course he chose to work as it would not only shorten his sentence but make the time go by faster. Where is the force in his situation?

    Also if “modern slavery” is people working who committed a crime, then their bondage is self brought on and your use of the word slavery an exaggeration.

    1. Nicole Avatar

      Well said!

      1. C D Avatar
        C D

        Unless of course, you are a person of color sent to jail for a crime you didn’t commit, or didn’t have a lawyer that truly represented you, or were forced to plead guilty to a lessor charge or many other reasons why you are serving a sentence. Prisoners should have other options rather than corporations exploiting the prison population to increase their bottom lines, PERIOD….Peace.

        1. Selah Taylor Avatar
          Selah Taylor

          Very well said.

        2. Fabio Avatar

          That is a different problem. The issue here is about inmate labor, not about the judicial system.

          1. Pat Avatar

            And you think the two are unrelated ?

          2. Brad Knopf Avatar
            Brad Knopf

            Nonsense. They are entirely the same problem.

          3. Susan Avatar

            supply and demand.. which comes first? need labor? get inmates see? that means if you blink wrong twice you may be a criminal.then again we may be overlooking the care for the prisoner far exceeds what his labor earns.. the clothes food electric and guards etc.. don’t they say EACH prisoner costs us in taxes 100,000? some crazy amount? humans are such a strange lifeform.

          4. Christopher Scott Avatar
            Christopher Scott

            Untrue, they are part of the judicial system.

          5. politically incorrect Avatar
            politically incorrect

            they are the same!..judicial laws/rules are backed by the prison and vice versa knock it off you can’t be that gullible..have you forgotten how judges have been busted for making sure the jails are filed to meet quotas..and private prisons are the worst.

        3. Karen Avatar

          Why does color enter the picture? I have people in jail that are white,yet work in prison, for pennies, just so they have something to look forward to each day. And if you are in prison, why should you get a free ride. Work your ass off, you might learn how to be responsible for your self and family.

          1. Margie Meeks Avatar
            Margie Meeks

            Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me. matt 25: 41-43

          2. end prisons Avatar
            end prisons

            Race comes in because it’s an indisputable fact that nonwhite folks are arrested at much higher rates for drugs (mostly), when all races use drugs about the same amount. But you do have a point – prison labor includes all races, which is despicable. It sure doesn’t seem like “responsibility” is really relevant, because I don’t see how it’s very responsible to remove someone from their community (overwhelmingly for nonviolent crimes), and then force their families to fend for themselves.

            If you think it’s justified to pay people pennies so they have “something to look forward to” I bet a few hundred years ago you would have been A-OK with slavery, because they have somewhere to sleep “to look forward to”. Forcing people to work for a tiny amount of money (which doesn’t ever leave the prison) is slavery. Full Stop.

            When it’s profitable to lock up folks to do work for you, there’s incentive to keep that going. It’s not a coincidence that the US has 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the prison population – people are getting rich off of it.

          3. JoJo Avatar

            Except when they get out, they cant get a job because they are ex-felons

          4. Sona Avatar

            Karen Color is brought up because it is clearly a black and white fact. In a perfect world your statement makes good sense. But, this is not a perfect situation. Check the stats, clearly the stack is against men and women of color, it is a glaring fact that racism is behind the numbers unfortunately.

          5. Fearless Avatar

            If corporations and the government Profit, from prisoners, what is their “motive”, to rehabilitate an inmate? The “system” demands more profit, hence more prisoners, irrespective of any criminality.

          6. Susan Avatar

            to Margie this person with no food no clothes and who committed a crime and ended up in jail a murderer? is he born out of wedlock? is he a sodomite? is his illness hiv? that’s not for all prisoners that’s for innocent ones or forgiven ones for minor infractions.. we do not have a God who says that. did you forget Jesus said if you don’t follow all Moses said don’t even so much as mention Jesus name? Moses said to kill your own child if he acts up a little.. fulfilling it means earning a place in a righteous family.. its why he SUFFERED because youre NOT good… not because you are,,,, He sweat drops of blood and asked if this cup can pass from him… because the sins of humans were too much.. he got “cut off” and cried forsakenness… most countries just kill .. we give a job… it all sucks.. humanity never was a prize.. not to Jesus.. he went through hell for joy was set BEFORE HIM meaning he received it FIRST… and thought he can have it again for suffering.. is that right to you too?

          7. politically incorrect Avatar
            politically incorrect

            color is relevant because every jail has more brown people than white that is a sad fact///whites are offered rehab/counseling quicker than brown..hell kid rapist get less time than drug dealers..which is just need to get out more more and speak to more people other than white . the prison system is not designed to help

          8. AG Avatar

            The loss of freedom is your punishment. Not working for free.
            How easy we forget when convenient…

          9. India weeks Avatar
            India weeks

            You must not live in the US, the US is terrifying, I went there on vacation recently and you can be thrown in jail for getting too many traffic tickets, for loitering, for crossing the street the wrong way. I feel such deep pity for US citizens they are basically all slaves, they work long hours for low pay, a very degraded country, not going to go there again on holiday, too depressing. Now these poor US workers have to compete with prison labor, very bad situation.

          10. Kaitlin Avatar

            I agree that work as part of it to offset the cost is fair. However, even then I cannot fully defend the practices as there are many that are exploitative. For example, in some prisons they are made to buy their own footwear but their only choice is a pair that falls apart quickly or expensive Reeboks. Given they get paid cents a day this is just a way to have them perpetually indebted and leave with debt. If they can’t pay they are back in again.

            California and other states use them as firefighters. They get paid a dollar or 2 an hour. However, many of the same Californian fire departments will not hire felons once they are released even if they worked for them while in prison. So this learn how to be responsible is something I agree with but that example I gave irks me.

            Pay them less than minimum wage and garnish some wages but there should be a limit whereby they are left with enough to buy some necessities and not leave with debt.

          11. Lisa Avatar

            I get up every morning and work my ass off to support my family. Why the hell should someone who committed ANY crime get free room and board when I have to work my ass off for mine and theirs?

        4. Ruth Avatar

          It is not just persons of color who are sent to jail for crimes they didn’t commit.White persons use the same “public defenders” as persons of color and get the same weak or non-existent defense. Your comment should,perhaps, read “Unless, of course, you are a poor person sent to jail because you couldn’t afford a decent lawyer.

          1. end prisons Avatar
            end prisons

            You’re actually right that poor people are the majority in jail, and that absolutely includes white people, and we shouldn’t limit our analysis to a one-dimensional racial argument, but it’s undeniable that non-white, especially black, folks are targeted at much higher rates for things like drug use, and more than 90% of people take a Plea Bargain rather than their case ever seeing the inside of a courtroom, even if they’re innocent, because they’re literally told that if they do that they’re almost certainly gonna spend even longer in prison.

        5. RC Avatar


          1. Edith Brown Avatar
            Edith Brown

            So what are the companies we can shop with?

        6. Gio Avatar

          Well said!

        7. SMS Avatar

          what a racist dirtbag you are CD

          1. YF Avatar

            You focused solely on his Non-prejudiced use of the word color and ignored the rest of the content in his comment. You sound incredibly stupid who only wants to cherry pick the conversation.

        8. Dee Stahl Avatar
          Dee Stahl

          How about education? Parenting classes? Therapy? Trade school that would actually provide them with an income they could live on when released. Let’s just keep the poor poor or poorer.

          1. Chip Avatar

            Working IS an education. Look at the examples given of “slavery”. They are working on farms and in trades. I know a guy who was a “slave” for a number of years and became an excellent woodworker during his stay there. Who says that anything presented here precludes parenting classes and therapy? Those are available in prison, also. And generally, advanced education is also available.

        9. sheron Avatar

          Very well stated, most people only see one side.

        10. Thoris Avatar

          My husband is doing 20.4 years for a crime ubdidnt commit and they r working him with no pay and no time off. I don’t think it has to do with color I think it all has to do with our crooked system and the d.a. wanting a conviction guilty or husband is white.

          1. JoJo Avatar

            Its a system set up to exploit poor people who do not have the resources for a proper defense. Then even when they are released they are set up for failure because its hard to find a job for ex-felons. Why dont these companies that exploit prison labor help these men by hiring them to do the same job on the outside? ANSWER: BECAUSE ITS ABOUT PROFIT NOT KEEPING PEOPLE FROM RE-OFFENDING

        11. lms Avatar

          so what would you recommend? It doesn’t make sense to just complain about certain activities if you don’t have a reasonable solution or replacement. And as beaman said, most volunteered to be imprisoned by whatever crime they committed.

          1. JoJo Avatar

            VOLUNTEERED to be IMPRISONED? I dont think so Ims

        12. Anon Avatar

          I am sick to death of people who don’t give a damn what happens to other people, as long as it won’t affect them.

          1. brant Wilson Avatar
            brant Wilson

            For real.

          2. habzac Avatar

            Spot on, Anon and JoJo

        13. Hillary Roadkill Avatar
          Hillary Roadkill

          By the PC code “person of color” you mean niggers?
          because last time I checked white was also a color….
          Dumb-ass hypocrites

          1. Janus Sunaj Avatar
            Janus Sunaj

            …no Hillary, a person of colour is a person with dark skin, and white is not a colour, and you are a dumb-ass nigger.

        14. Maria Avatar

          Actually, there are many studies done, and people of color are given sentences completely similar to those of white people. The truth is that there is far more crime in the black community due to the lack of good parenting amongst other things. White people of a similar economic background are every bit as likely to end up incarcerated. Violent crime HAD been going down however, for many years. Since 1990. Until it ticked up dramatically in 2015, when the police started finding it difficult to do their jobs due to Obama and Black Lives Matter. Kind of ironic that 500 black people were shot in Chicago in one month, thanks to BLM making police unable to spot and stop potential criminals. Lets not forget who the VICTIMS are.

          1. habzac Avatar

            You are an ignorant fool, Maria. Have you been listening to Faux News again?

          2. Melanin Avatar

            Maria, what are your studies saying about the lynchings, the bombings, and shooting i
            throughout the history of this country. Oh, I forgot, your are gonna say it wasn’t me. You racist kill me with you blaming President Obama, Black Lives Matter, immigrants and Muslims for all of the problems in this country that were created by racist like you. You must be Dylann Roof’s mother because I see where all his hatred came from.

          3. Ara Avatar

            Maria I am a criminologist. It is my job to read these studies and I guarantee that the studies you mention say the OPPOSITE. Black people are given much harsher sentences – it is a fact, you know nothing.. What you have said here is disgusting. How dare you.

          4. Activist hope Avatar
            Activist hope

            Your need to get your facts correct Maria. Black lives Matter is not responsible for the police blotching their jobs, such has been the case for a long time. Black people are tired of being targeted for exterminated , which seems to be sanctioned by the powers that be.

        15. Tim Avatar

          They do have other options. They aren’t forced to work on these things. its OPTIONAL. How hard is that to understand?

        16. G J Avatar
          G J

          The big problem is that it’s taking jobs away from the rest of the community.

        17. Sharon Dewey Avatar
          Sharon Dewey

          Well said!!

          1. Sharon Dewey Avatar
            Sharon Dewey

            My comment got moved way out of context – sorry! Can’t delete it. I don’t even remember who I said “well said!” to! 😛 But my opinion on all of this is that private prisons are immoral and unAmerican and should be shut down — They are just state sponsored opportunities for corporations to maximize their profits on the backs of poor Americans. And the incentive for these prisons is to imprison as many Americans as possible and keep them coming back and punish their insubordination and resistance to their outrageous treatment by keeping them in prison longer. Nobody knows what’s going on in these prisons and that is how everyone involved in the management of the prisons likes to keep it. I believe private prisons may even be unconstitutional. But what weight does that carry these days? Our whole government is behaving in unconstitutional ways…

        18. janine theodore Avatar
          janine theodore


        19. ex-exploited by tax payers Avatar
          ex-exploited by tax payers

          maybe theres a lesson to be learned- dont fuck up and you wont have a chance to be exploited?

        20. Vee Avatar

          Say so!

        21. Nancy Avatar

          Oh yes, we know every one in prision is innocent. If I was innocent and in jail I think I would appreciate the opportunity to keep busy. But if you have no respect for work or self respect you will sit around and forget nothing…sort of why most are in there in the first place

        22. T K Avatar
          T K

          Now that was well said CD

      2. joeshmoe Avatar

        you are a retard these big wall street jew corporations are lowering wages for everyone else with these practices
        and this list is incomplete the problem is far whose than this article lets on did you that even boeing uses prison labor to make plane parts?

        1. Janus Sunaj Avatar
          Janus Sunaj

          …no Joe, the big Wall Street jew corporations have no interest whatever in these small-time activities, and no aircraft parts of any kind are made by prison labour for Boeing or for any other aircraft manufacturer. In fact, it is you who is the retard.

        2. Tim Avatar

          My comment is “awaiting mod approval” but the mod allows this?

          Good thing you have these filters in place to prevent someone from spewing a bunch of racist hate or something like that.

        3. Mrs. Tobojka Avatar
          Mrs. Tobojka

          Retard is not the word to be using here. You are an imbecile.

      3. America is disgusting Avatar
        America is disgusting

        That might be true if the people in prison were actually there for violent crime. 86% of them are in jail for petty drug possession or are being detained because of their illegal migrant status.

      4. Harold Gilmer Avatar
        Harold Gilmer

        wrong,people are not to be in bondage or enslaved, if we wrote the 13th to eliminate slavery,why not eliminate the words;except in case of a crime?

    2. Jason Avatar

      You are assuming the convictions were fair, unbiased, and the punishment was in proportion to the crime. You sound very naive.

      1. Lauren Detroit Avatar
        Lauren Detroit

        THANK YOU people are ignorant

      2. Fabio Avatar

        That is a different problem. The issue here is about inmate labor, not about the judicial system.

        1. Anon Avatar

          Prison labor and the judicial system are tightly woven together, due to lobbying groups who support the use of prison labor to profit their own personal companies.Longer jail times, new “crimes”. Look up “jail time for overdue library books”.

        2. JoJo Avatar

          Its all part of the same crooked, evil scheme

      3. Evelyn Hargrove Avatar
        Evelyn Hargrove

        Thank you for raising that point. It’s always assumed people of color, who are imprisoned, are guilty. Whites typically serve less or no time, in comparison, for greater crimes, i.e. George Zimmerman, racist killer cops, drunk cops, first time offenders, drug users and dealers etc.

        1. end prisons Avatar
          end prisons

          Or: rapist fucks whose poor wittle swimming careers might be at stake :'(

    3. Marianne Avatar

      I agree totally. This is BS. At least they’re getting out and earning something . The reason China has less of a prison population is they kill most of their offenders. Illegals would kill for these jobs. they’d get more money , but they’d need it to put a roof over their head, food in their belly, clean water and electricity. Something prisoners already have. You call this slavery? These are not innocents kidnapped from their home land, beaten and starved. I’m sure there are a few in there who don’t belong, but most do. Most get family visitations too. Slaves had their families torn apart. How dare you compare this to slavery!

      1. Hannah Avatar

        This is the land of the “FREE” ?! There are 92 free countries on earth. We have the highest rate of incarceration. For all our freedom loving this and that and home of the brave, land of the free songs, it doesn’t add up. We are the LEAST FREE, ”FREE” country on earth! For profit prisons should not be aloud to exist. They have finical incentive to keep their beds full. They send lobbyist to help make stiffer punishment for non violent crimes. How can people not see this? And yes of course- just look at the stats people- more people of color are incarcerated than whites. I am white. I don’t not agree with this system.

        1. Natalie Avatar

          It’s a good thing for you that improper grammar and incorrect statistics aren’tpunishable crimes. It takes away from the validity of your argument when you don’t know the difference between “aloud” and “allowed” or know the correct number of free countries there are in the world. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you probably don’t even know what qualifications it takes to classify a country as “free.” I also fail to see the correlation between being labeled “home of the brave” and freedom. Yes, I agree that our prison system is flawed, but comparing it to slavery is a stretch and quite frankly, an insult to those who were victims of slavery.

          1. Robert Avatar

            Wrong! Misspeld words are the sign of busy and engaged minds. Don’t be such an as.

          2. Selah Taylor Avatar
            Selah Taylor

            “In places like Texas, however, prison work is mandatory and unpaid – the literal definition of slave labor.”
            Criticizing someone else makes your lack of critical reading skills a point of even more derision.

          3. Gayle Johnson Avatar

            About the grammar… This is also an indicator of the dumbing down of the people in the USA! Keep them dumb and they are easier to control. When they get out of control put them in prison and use them as production resources!

          4. David Stevens Avatar

            If you criticize other people’s grammar try to avoid typos. It detracts from your scolding. I believe it is a historical fact that blacks were falsely charged for crimes in the south in order to use their labor for profit. This practice continued at least up to WWII. It would not surprise me to hear it is still going on.

          5. Adam3 Avatar

            Yes it is slavery. Set-up to dehumanize, exploit for the rich and increase the odds of returning to the system and control the population.

            How can one insult someone who has already died.

            Who cares about grammar? The truth of the content matters.

          6. Van Sanders Retired educator.. Avatar

            You understood what she said. When I see people like you who waste space with grammar bullshit…I immediately discount every idea they write. Don’t bother to respond back to me because I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed man/woman.

          7. Taz r Avatar
            Taz r

            That is completely moronic, no guessing who you support for 2016.. ha ha .

          8. Tara Avatar

            Well grammar Nazi, “aren’tpunishable” isn’t a word either, so back off on the criticism oh perfect one…;

          9. Tara Avatar

            Well grammar Nazi, “aren’tpunishable” isn’t a word either, so back off on the criticism oh perfect one…

          10. Justin Avatar

            I’m just interested in what “false stats” she used. She’s a bit off on free countries – according to Freedom House, its 86. America isn’t at the top. If you prefer another source, the Fraser Institute has America barely cracking the top -20. We also DO have the second highest incarceration rate per 100,000 people, only behind Seychelles, and it’s not super close between us and the rest of the countries.

          11. David Avatar

            “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.” Amendment 13 clearly calls it slavery!

        2. keith Avatar

          There is not a single free country! Name one country where i can live and not pax any taxes? If you are forced to pay taxes you are not free as force (i.e., you are willing to shoot someone that does not obey) cannot coexist with free unless one is violating the Rights of another. To make someone work as a punishment because they violated the Rights of another (and were found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt) is not a violation but a deterrent for them to repeat said trespass.

          1. sissiboo Avatar

            Somalia? Afghanistan?

          2. Sage58 Avatar

            You pay taxes to uphold a COMMUNITY. That’s not “paying” so much as “contributing” & that only works if everyone does it. That’s how societies work. (Duh) And what makes you believe the only “crimes” prosecuted to prison are crimes that necessarily violate another’s rights? Many crimes that are “considered” against the state will get you Much longer sentences.

        3. baa Avatar

          Hannah are you 12 years old because you are too naive to be any older.

      2. Court Avatar

        China kills “most of” their offenders? I would like to see some statistics on that, please.

        1. Tania E M Ratima Avatar

          they sell the organs of said killed offenders and the incarcerated christians who are exposing this practise.

      3. mark Avatar

        According to Amnesty International’s annual report on the death penalty, “excluding China, at least 778 people were executed worldwide” throughout 2013

        This is obviously NOT the reason China has 1/5 of the prisoners of USA

        1. Frosty Avatar

          Trying to use common sense while going against the grain of Americans that think prisoners for pointless incarceration should “earn their keep”? Good luck with that. All the non violent drug charge ones really piss me off. Profiteering at anybody’s expense is what a corporation does regardless, I have no pity for them when they go under and lose everything either so it’s mutual.

      4. Dana Avatar

        You are naive to think that slavery ever ended. This is how they enslave the people now. What you think families aren’t torn apart by incarceration. Open your eyes.

      5. Maria Soto Avatar
        Maria Soto

        I completed agree with you, this can not be called slavery!!

      6. dixieswampangel Avatar

        Tell it like it is!!! Behave and act like a decent human being instead of a knot head and avoid a world of trouble!!

      7. Anon Avatar

        How dare anyone not? Families ARE TORN APART by this. People ARE being beaten and coerced. No doubt, there is plenty of profit from this to pay people to sit at their computers and supported on opinion/comment pages, too.

      8. David Avatar

        “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.” Amendment 13 clearly states that it is slavery.

    4. MvH Avatar

      Your argument is absurd and very, very superficial.

      The range of possibilities for abuse is unbelievable. As the article points out, no country in the world – even repressive systems like China – have anywhere near the number of people in jail as the US. Is that because the US has more people in “self brought-on bondage”, more criminals, than other places?

      What kind of a system do you have when you have private companies with a lot of political clout running and profiting from a system that incarcerates massive numbers of people, mostly young men? With a judicial system only partly independent considering law-makers are imposing mandatory sentences and reducing access to legal assistance to a minimum?

      And then: why not pay these people at least the legal minimum wage? Over 2 million people working for free – that is a lot of work other people could make a living doing. And profiting the most from the situation is not the working- and middle class, but large corporations who then do all they can to avoid paying taxes and thus contribute to society…

      And what is not abuse of force about a situation where an inmate has the option between unpaid forced labour and solitary confinement?

      And who gets to decide on shortening sentences in exchange for unpaid work? The privately run prison? What purpose can that serve other than making money of people who have no choice?

      If slavery is the wrong word to use here – we don’t really have a term for what is going on. And the analogy is shockingly striking.

      1. Bonnie Avatar

        Thank you. Yes, yes, yes. People are “seeing” this (not really seeing)in a too-simplistic way that doesn’t take into account the closed systems at work.

      2. gc Avatar

        Thank you!
        THANK YOU!
        THANK YOU.

      3. Frank Joopiteer Avatar
        Frank Joopiteer

        Yes. We fail to see fairness, I agree with you. We don’t even know if the sentencing of these prisoners was fair, or if they were sentenced to fill a for-profit cell and then become exploited for cheap labor. Not everyone incarcerated deserves to be in prison.

      4. Kali Avatar

        Better said!

      5. Ge Avatar

        Lets not forget that these privatized prisons are set up to make money from each inmate that is incarcerated..
        Its all politics and the systems are working together for the love of money..

    5. Shanta Kamath Avatar
      Shanta Kamath

      Dear beaman,

      The article states, right under the list of companies, “While not all prisoners are ‘forced’ to work, most ‘opt’ to because life would be even more miserable if they didn’t,” in agreement with your stated experience regarding your friend.

      However it also makes clear, throughout, that:
      86% of the crimes are non violent;
      that corporations are lobbying for a broader definition of crime due to their financial gain from what is essentially slave labor (people leave prison indebted rather than compensated for their hard work);
      that the U.S. has a hugely disproportionate percentage of the world’s incarcerated people (25%! surely you don’t believe that is because we are more criminally active?);
      that people of color are disproportionately charged, tried and incarcerated.

      This adds up to an intentionally unjust and covert system of exploitation of people of color for profit. It is the deliberate creation and maintenance of an underclass. Seriously, the only thing stopping people from seeing it that way is the internalization of oppression, the shame, the guilt, the lack of self-esteem enforced on people with less money and fewer opportunities and a lot of negative conditioning in their lives from start to finish. It’s not just. It’s not right. It ought not to be legal because it is more brutal and violent and a greater theft than most of the crimes being punished in prisons.

      While people of color are enslaved for years on the basis of false confessions they were literally forced to make as teenagers without parents or lawyers present, that Stanford rapist is convicted and serves 3 months. What do you call that? I call it the new slave trade.

      1. Bonnie Avatar


      2. Karen Avatar

        Well said. Thank you.

      3. jamie coleman Avatar
        jamie coleman

        Well said.

      4. RACHAEL Avatar


      5. alison Avatar

        .7% (less than one percent) of the US population is incarcerated. That means the other 99%+ have figured out that if you break the law you go to prison. Yes, there are people in prison that don’t belong there. However I doubt that is true for the majority incarcerated. What I do think is that some middle ground should be sought – prisoners get minimum wage, 75% of which goes for room and board and the remainder they can keep. Sort of like people working for minimum wage outside of prison. Remember, it IS supposed to be punishment!

        1. America is disgusting Avatar
          America is disgusting

          Not sure why the truth is so hard to digest. Go to united states sentencing commission 2015 data file USSCFY2015. Why fear the facts. America is not so beautiful after all.

        2. Fearless Avatar

          No it is “CORRECTION” or rehabilitation, the parole board asks “have you REHABILITATED yourself” NOT “have you suffered enough to conform”. Bet you think you’re Christian, too…

      6. Maria Soto Avatar
        Maria Soto


      7. Johnna Avatar

        Thank you! Wonderfully laid out.

    6. margery kronengold Avatar
      margery kronengold

      WE don’t know what would have happened to him if he had refused.

    7. Timijanel Avatar

      Prison alone is punishment for their crimes. Confined in a cell smaller than that which our animals habitat. Told when to eat, sleep, rise, etc. I could go on but it would be redundant.
      For those that choose to work, force is not proper. This article is about those Forced to.

      1. Tammy Avatar

        If you don’t break the law then you don’t end up in prison. That should be a pretty simple concept. Once someone gets sent to prison then why is it wrong to make them work for their keep. Some of us out here in the real world have to work to have a roof over out heads, food to eat, clothes and other needed items. Why should they be able to live from of that responsibility.

        1. Mike Avatar

          The article clearly states that the majority of these prisoners were convicted of drug “crimes,” which exist only in the fevered minds of sadists and sheep. Taking drugs can be a bad habit but it cannot be a crime in any real sense of the word. If taking drugs can be a crime why not milkshakes and cheeseburgers. More people die as a result of poor diet and obesity tham from all illegal drugs combined. Of course, more people die from taking th elegal drugs in the manner they are prescribed, than do from all illegal drugs combined. The criminality of a drug has nothing whatsoever to do with its toxicity. Alcohol and tobacco are far and away the biggest killers of the recreational drugs and we push these on kids in the mass media. It has been impirically established (Nutt, 2010) that alcohol is deadlier than heroin, powder cocaine, crack cocaine, meth, molly, DMT, LSD, etc. Booze is worst. So why do we punish our children for making safer choices? To enrich the corporations listed above. Americans have been brainwashed by the best in the business. The drug war is crime against humanity for which reparations must be made.

    8. johnny rojo Avatar
      johnny rojo

      Never mind that this happens in the country with one of the highest imprisonment rates in the world. A country that imprisons one in three black males. A country that builds increasing numbers of privately run prisons and then actively seeks ‘lawbreakers’ to fill them. Yeah, they all really ‘bought’ their bondage. And you are definitely not a douche.

    9. Iret Avatar

      Consider the thousands of people wrongfully convicted, illegal searches, corrupt police, and trumped up charges when you state this.

    10. Coco Blu Avatar
      Coco Blu

      That’s what I’m saying. We did make them go to prison.Besides some of them are getting work experiences they wouldn’t have gotten outside of prison because lack of it, or prison records. Now they get to leave with good conduct and experience.

    11. Charl Avatar

      The problem I have with prison labor is it is jobs being taken away from those outside the prison walls. To save money for the industry,and escape scrutiny they employ penal labor.
      This costs because our economy cannot function when jobs are being lost to China and other nations, and to prisons.
      Who will have money to buy those goods. You say the rich? Well, time moves forward and the rich will have all they need, and choose what they want.
      In the meantime the economy decimated the middle class and the coming generation cannot support a family.
      Eventually you are left without a work force on the outside of prison walls.
      If there are 3000 jobs in prison and 2500 outside prison walls, that is 500 unemployed in productive labor.
      It’s profitable for the corporation which is global, but not for the Nation.

      1. Sage58 Avatar

        You pay taxes to uphold a COMMUNITY. That’s not “paying” so much as “contributing” & that only works if everyone does it. That’s how societies work. (Duh) And what makes you believe the only “crimes” prosecuted to prison are crimes that necessarily violate another’s rights? Many crimes that are “considered” against the state will get you Much longer sentences.

    12. Terri Avatar

      Working isn’t a part of their sentence. The time they do in prison is their punishment. All the other stuff is extra.

      1. Ge Avatar

        very true and since they have no choice but to work in light of the situation it is called slavery … they are incarcerated to serve time for the crime they committed .. not to be used to make money for these already rich corporations.
        Slave labor and sweat shops are they.

    13. Michael Kelly Avatar
      Michael Kelly

      What about when they’re incarcerated for victimless acts, that shouldn’t really be illegal? Possessing small amounts of marijuana, for instance

    14. Melissa Avatar

      Your friend went to jail not prison. If you don’t know the difference between work release and forced labor, then you don’t know much about the U.S. Prison system and your comments are meaningless.

    15. Sean Hellier Avatar
      Sean Hellier

      If you have people producing commercial products for profit and you aren’t paying them, and if they refuse to go along with the program, you punish them, well, what do you call that?

      I have no sympathy for criminals, but working them like slaves is slavery.

      And that’s criminal, too.

    16. Anna Draper Avatar
      Anna Draper

      It is slavery when someone is making a valuable product and making 15 cents an hour.

      1. Ali Avatar

        But if you consider the fact that they are provided with a roof over their heads, 3 meals a day, electric, and water, then it really doesn’t amount to 15 cents a day. It reqlly amounts to closer to minimum wage. Regqrdless of whether the roof over their head is a prison roof or the roof of a house. If they were out here, they would have to pqy for all of those things that are provided for them anyway.

    17. John Jarecki Avatar
      John Jarecki

      Sanitized slavory, the private prisons lobby to ensure 100% capacity and are compensated by the tax payers I’d not. They flood money to congress to keep low level offenses jail worthy sentences. You sound just like the slavery apologists of old.
      “Keep them in the dark, they’re happier that way”

    18. Leslie Miller Avatar
      Leslie Miller

      In Texas they have to work or stay in solitary confinement and they get 0 reimbursement for their work. not even 1 dollar a day.

    19. Tommye Avatar

      Slavery? I don’t think so.

      1. Fearless Avatar

        Your comment, requires a “comma”, between “think” and “so”, end with question mark.

    20. Carl Avatar

      Offered? I’ll get back to that… anyway taking jobs from society and giving it to prisoners so certain companies can make larger profits still isn’t American while society is still responsible for medical dental and housing lighting for an innate for not a crime against society but a crime against a large pharmaceutical company or the tobacco industry we tend to support the wrong thing… back to offered nope you take the job because you want to go home you take the job because they demand and in some states quit feeding you if you don’t we need to reevaluate crimes…. violent crimes rape murder and things like that but nonviolent crimes that help the stock of CCA only isn’t conducive to America…

    21. Clarence Everson Avatar
      Clarence Everson

      If you are starving and I offer you a steak in return for working for me for free for 24 hrs would you eat it ? If you did, ( and you would ) what would you call that ? You weren’t FORCED, but it helped you didn’t it ? If you were starving and I said it was your fault for not having money, would you say that I was right or would you tell me the circumstances that caused you to be broke and poor ?I doubt if you would say it was your fault,just like some people in prison it wasn’t their fault. Of course people like you who generalize don’t want to hear that only unless it is you that is hungry ?

      1. Lankiejr Avatar

        The living wage in America is 15 dollars per hour. How much does a steak dinner cost? That’s what slavery was. Massage fed the slaves so they would have energy to work for free

    22. Dana Avatar

      Now go actually read the Thirteenth Amendment and tell me it’s an exaggeration. It’s not. The language is in there.

      Your friend wasn’t really making a free choice. He did not have his freedom and it was either work or go crazy from the isolation. If the only alternative to your choice is something worse, you didn’t really make a choice.

      And the convicted didn’t write our laws. They had no say in the language of the law, they had no say in the consequences, and our lawmakers are the ones who decided that victimless crimes deserve prison time. (Fifty years for marijuana possession–REALLY???) So no, not so many people ASK for this. But nice making excuses. So if you ever accidentally break the law doing something you didn’t know was illegal, are you gonna go to jail without complaint? Well guess what. It’s estimated that each of us breaks three laws a day. Hope you’re not caught.

      1. Arlen Avatar

        Being punished for committing a crime inevitably means losing some of our natural and Constitutional rights.

    23. Deeto Avatar

      In our situation today, over half of prisoners haven’t seen a day in court (they are innocent) or, as proven by the innocence project, they received poor representation and were falsely imprisoned. They were innocent.

    24. Ammar Avatar

      Then do not blame the kulak. People in Kulak at least are used to produce food for the people of motherland in their hardship to build back their country and develop the technology. Now since the US does this, everyone seems like to agree.

    25. H. Guthrie Avatar
      H. Guthrie

      I have been working for the Georgia Dept. Of Corrections for the past 26 years, and you could not be more correct in your opinion.

    26. Sjk Avatar

      In the article, directly underneath the list of companies your EXACT point is already addressed in the way you do, about the use of “force”.
      In the first paragraph it is explained that “the broadening” of what is considered illegal developed our prison industrial complex with mostly dark skinned people (through laws that are disproportionately APPLIED to the darker skinned people in our country).

    27. Tony Avatar

      Right on point, just another example of a sensationalized article to promote victimization

    28. LookinForJust WorkinConditionsForAll Avatar
      LookinForJust WorkinConditionsForAll

      Allowing companies, corporations to profit from paying far less than minimum wage gives them incentive to also invest in those who are “tough on crime” to keep on the very discriminatory “war on drugs” and the like. Legalize marijuana? That would be bad for these businesses.
      I’m not sure the author realizes that such corporations LOBBY Congress for things—their interests are to keep sentences long, keep a large number of people imprisoned, and make lots of money off the backs of these people.
      Prison labor and job skills are great to have. There should just be a reasonable wage for the incarcerated. Perhaps 75% of minimum wage and it goes into an account with certain restrictions, such as 50% is into savings to help when they’re out (or help family).

    29. Shawn Avatar

      It is modern-day slavery. Just in Colorado look at the conviction rate and what type of crimes you’re getting locked up for, sex offenders getting a year to someone getting a DUI and being in prison for 5 things of that nature and the the black man is the minority in the country but the majority in the prison’s explain that.

    30. JM Avatar

      You seem to forget about this silly thing called racism: and how stealing a cd can get you 10 years in jail if you’re lucky. It can also get you dead. 99%of these guys do not deserve to be I there. This IS modern day slavery. Bad cops looking for any excuse to put a black person behind bars…again…if they get lucky and don’t end up dead. Open your eyes.

    31. barry Avatar

      He went Jail not Prison, Mr. Enlightenment….

    32. Pennie Avatar

      I agree. I wouldn’t call it forced but a privilege to give back to society what they have taken. At least they have a job!

      1. Stephen Avatar

        Giving to a multi billion dollar corporation private corporation is not “giving back to society”.

    33. Jill Avatar

      Not necessarily. And if many of the crimes are non violent and victimless, then why are they treated this way?? Other nations have WAY BETTER programs in their prison systems that actually rehabilitate someone to be successful and a caring citizen when released back into society!!

    34. Troof Avatar

      You do know that coercion is a type of force, even if that coercion is social instead of physical.

    35. Udi Avatar

      You are missing something here. You have a prison system that incentivises convicting more people and that is open to corruption and shady deals. It also distorts the market by putting unfair downward pressure on wages. Also, if you read the article, you’d see that working is t always voluntary or paid. Add the fact that much of your system is privately run fo profit, and you can see where there could be a slavery racket going on.

    36. Stelhen Avatar

      OK, but why should multi billion dollar companies be allowed to profit off this system.. It costs tax dollars to keep these people locked up, clothed and fed so surely if anybody should “profit” from providing prisoners with the chance to work it should be the taxpayer first.

      This could be done by assisting in non profitable but essential social services like painting and decorating for the elderly or infirm or assisting in community programmes, even helping in neighbourhood improvement schemes to help towns, villages and cities to improve their general amenities and facilities to be more attractive and environmentally pleasant to live in than some golf the concrete shit holes that many parts of the US appear to have become.

    37. Patricia Eckhoff Avatar

      Beaman Was your friend State or Federal? That would determine good time or not. In State you are NOT paid and you DO NOT get short time. You still serve until your release dare through flat time or parole. There is no FORCED to all. Some will go in and talk themselves into a medical release. What all has been seen her is the outside work or the . hoe squad. That is difficult/hard work. No sunscreen is given=must be bought for 6 or 7 dollars, This is all state. I know state as I was in for 2 years. I worked laundry which at times was exteremely hot or cold. It was at times long days. But it became easier as time went on. Working is a way to break up the monotomy, sleeping, watching television, playing cards. Waiting for mail, trying to buy minutes to call home. It passed very quickly for me. But, state and federal are two entirely differant animals.

    38. joy Avatar

      That is so wrong on so many levels and you people are ok with this? REALLY? WTF is wrong with you people!!!

    39. CB Avatar

      The reason it is slavery is that most States have a privatized prison system. In addition many have mandatory sentencing. Judges really have no say in how long the sentence is. The vast majority of inmates are in for some drug offense. For instance a man was caught using one of the bedrooms in his house to grow pot. Mandatory sentence 21 years. He’s not dangerous. He had a job, a house etc. He was a tax payer. Now instead of paying taxes we’re paying a privatized cooperation to house him while he works for free and makes the Coorporation even more money. That is why it’s slavery.

    40. Suzanne Günther Avatar
      Suzanne Günther

      Blackmail. When I was seventeen I was court ordered into six week Minimum psychological evaluation because I had run away from home. I signed paperwork upon entering that included a whole page about the laws regarding “forced labor”.
      While there I had to do work therapy. Work therapy was making tractor seats. I walked out and informed the head of work “therapy” that this was illegal and I was not going to be used as slave labor. I was then told that this rebellious behavior was not going to look good in my final evaluation and would mean I just might have to stay longer. I can only imagine the creative ways prisoners are convinced it is in their best interests to work for slave wages.

    41. Darcydj Avatar

      Beaman – Some neighborhoods are over policed so something as simple as smoking a “J’ in your back yard could get you into the system. If you are in a white neighborhood the likihood of that scenario happening is infinitesimally low. It’s going to almost always be a brown skinned person low on the socio-economic scale that will happen to be the person most likely faced with that “in-forced labor decision. Please don’t forget that in TEXAS it is mandatory if they refuse they face solitary confinement. Any one that supports any of this is a good example of a terrible person.

      1. Darcydj Avatar

        I meant “un-forced”

    42. Jonna Avatar

      You are assuming that all prisoners work to shorten their sentence. That is not the case. I worked at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, and there is no choice in whether or not to work. They are assigned a job in the field unless for health reasons they are unable to work in the field. They get their 4 cents and hour and they do not get early release. I agree that working as part of their sentence is a good thing, as long as education is provided as well, because everyone needs a good work ethic. But not for 4 cents an hour. Pay them, and they can save money that can be used when they get released. Instead they release them with a bus ticket and $50 and hope they find somewhere to go.

    43. Al Avatar

      Prison and loss of freedom is the punishment. What about rehabilitation so they don’t reoffend? Oh yeah, then you’d lose your slave wage work force…

    44. David Avatar

      You realize people are forced to be in jail, correct?

    45. Denise Avatar

      Well with this type of system innocent people are convicted of crimes they did not commit, it put American worker out of work and fattens the rich pockets at the expense of every American citizen.

    46. R.K.H. Avatar


    47. Bill Avatar

      Most of these criminals, and we’re talking thousands, are in prison for drug crimes, which shouldn’t be crimes. And statistically speaking, most of these prisoners are culled from the American black population. Your explanation for percieved complacency is omitting a huge factor. Wonder what that might be? Care to elaborate?

    48. bryant tillman Avatar
      bryant tillman

      …and your understanding of the word “coersion” is your’s.

    49. Fantasia Avatar

      A lot of people of color are targeted and arrested for pretty crimes and put in prison. Slavery is based on fact that a certain group of people, blacks, are imprisoned instead of giving shorter jail sentences, probation or a slap on the wrist. Which white counterparts experience regularly. To work off a sentence that you were not even deserving of the first place, is slavery.

    50. denise ward Avatar
      denise ward

      That’s ridiculous. People get jailed for smoking a plant or not paying banks and other stupid stuff. This is just exploitation. Maybe you like buying products cheaply and so see your vested interest as trumping ethics.

    51. RC Avatar

      The vast majority – 86 percent – of prisoners have been locked up for non-violent, victimless crimes, many of them drug-related.

    52. Kay Lang Avatar
      Kay Lang

      Many people are sent to prison for crimes that did not commit or for minor violations that they use to would have paid a fine for. Private prisons are what has made us The Prison Capital of the World. Governmental agencies sign contract with private prisons to keep them 90 to 100% filled. So even if the crime goes down in an area, the prisons must still be kept filled. It is a very disgraceful thing for our country and very sad for the families involved in making the private prison owners billionaires.

    53. Sally Avatar

      Smoking pot merits being used as a cheap labor source???????

    54. Vincent Avatar

      I am political scientist and a Historian. This labor is the same as Slavery and nothing you can do or say will change the fact that Governments can own slaves while the general public cannot. Governments can sell their slaves to Corporations who use their labor for profits. Texas is the worse work or get solitary confinement ( like the metal holes in the ground during slavery) so while you think it is ok then you must add the Criminal Injustice System that sucks in Black Men and women like a vaccum sucks in dust- indiscriminately. I cannot believe you people would support a system so unfair it has been called worse than slavery because of the illusion of freedom. Why do you think Felons cannot vote- what has committing a crime or not have to do with your vote. I will tell you why. African Americans vote democrat, therefore if you have 20 million felons then Democrats lost twenty million votes. This is about money and lost wages for those of us who have been lucky enough to avoid a jail sentence. Henry Louis Gates got locked up for breaking the window to his own house- Enough said if a friend of the President and Harvard Scholar can go to jail for being black then any one of will go to prison for less to work for nothing all because we have more melanon in our skill. AKA Racism and slavery has never left the American Government, it just hid behind “Three Strikes You are out” life sentences for black men for stealing a 150 dollar shirt. Yes a life in prison for less than 200 dollars and you call that fair when the shirt was going to be sold to feed his family because felon can not get a job

      1. Sonia Avatar

        Your words ring so true to me. Staying strong, focused, purposeful and keeping it as positive as one can is a start.

    55. Mary Avatar

      I totally agree. Missleading headlines.
      A little hard work may be good for them.

    56. Jesse Avatar

      Maybe you missed the part where we have 1 in 100 of our citizens incarcerated and 86% for non-violent, victimless crimes ( mostly drugs ) these prisons are competing with local businesses. How can a business compete against free labor?

    57. RVH Avatar

      “Self brought on” – great.
      So really, what you’re saying is, if the dumb criminal just hadn’t done whatever he/she did, they wouldn’t be there in the first place. Since they did, whatever happens to them doesn’t matter. Let me guess, I bet you’re opposed to “mollycoddling” prisoners, aren’t you?

    58. Pamela Avatar

      Systemic barriers is often the reason for the disproportionate numbers. Remove the systemic barriers and then we can remove the word force.

    59. Deani Avatar

      The article DID mention “While not all prisoners are “forced” to work, most “opt” to because life would be even more miserable if they didn’t, as they have to purchase pretty much everything above the barest necessities (and sometimes those too) with their hard-earned pennies…..”

    60. C. Lund Avatar
      C. Lund

      You are a moron. A very stupid or foolish person. Why oh why has the public school system been decimated so much that people like you can learn to spell and type but not think?

    61. Anna Draper Avatar
      Anna Draper

      Newman of course anyone is going to work to shorten their sentences, the problem is when the prison profits off of that work.

    62. t Avatar

      It is really not an option because if you do not choose the options as you stated then nine times out of ten additional fractions are added on to their sentence and they end up spending longer time in jail than necessary which is a common practice within the private prisons … so in fact it is force .. either do the work or get additional time added to your sentence … and remember not everyone in the system is there because they committed crimes … more and more individuals are being released after evidence has been proven that these individuals have been illegally jailed … granted not everyone in there is innocent but let us be mindful that many are not always guilty but the system is devised to oppress some while make money for others

    63. Ana Avatar

      74 cents a day is fair? Do you know that a pair of shoes costs an inmate a hundred bucks? How long does a person have to work in jail to buy a pair of shoes if they make less than a dollar a day?

    64. michael Avatar

      There is so much wrong with that blurb that it is difficult to know where to start. Most people in prison are there for non violent drug offenses who should not even be in prison in the first place.

      The United States has more people in prison by far than any other country in the world. 2.2 to 2.5 million people. Now many prisons are “For Profit” institutions. Some inmates receive as little as 17 cents an hour for their work. In Texas they are paid nothing at all.

      Prison is clearly the “New Plantation”. And slavery never really ended in this country it just changed the method in which it operates. And the majority of inmates are non-whites. And then at the end of your statement you blame the victims of institutional slavery.

    65. g. Avatar

      Work to provide free labor to multi-million dollar corporation is slavery not paying off a debt to society. You people love to see people in bondage. its a sickness with you.

    66. Greg Avatar

      Have you forgotten about judges that sent kids to prison just to help the private prisons make money? Everyone in prison isn’t guilty of a crime and paying someone 40cent to $2 an hour is still modern day slavery. It still allows companies to make huge profits off the backs of us!

    67. Barry Boykins Avatar
      Barry Boykins

      The word slavery is not an exaggeration it is spelled out in your Const. read the 13 Amend. You are making excuses for a racist system.

    68. skinny Avatar

      So I take it that you missed the memo on all the wrongly incarcerated people in prison, only there due to police department quotas and a desire to have these prisons filled for this labor? There’s a case of ONE lab worker who faked the results of thousands of samples to put innocent people in jail just to satisfy the cops and prosecuters and get them convictions they wanted and they just want closed cases and bodies in jail, they don’t care about the actual innocence or guilt. There are tons of innocent people in jail now strictly from this desire to have bodies filling these prisons, it’s nowhere near all “due to their own doing”

    69. Robert Avatar

      A “victimless crime” is not a real crime, but a made up one. Real crimes involve aggression and include murder, theft, rape, etc. Smoking a plant, buying or selling things, a woman selling her body which is rightfully her own, etc. are not real crimes.

    70. barfdonkey Avatar

      And “freemen” losing their jobs so the company can employ “prison workers” for a fraction of the price is perfectly fine.

    71. ACAB Avatar

      When you can’t drive down the street without committing a “crime” that’s a police state and since prisoners are not paid for their work that’s slavery…which makes police slavers.

    72. Wanda Avatar

      Also not all prisoners are black. My son made poor choices and got on drugs which led to prison. He has worked for six years and paid off all his fines and is able to have some things from the prison store. Not right that he works long hours for very low pay. But he is accomplishing something good. Things are not always right but of some good.

    73. Theresa McBryan Avatar
      Theresa McBryan

      And how is this different than sending manufacturing jobs overseas to countries that pay 50 cents an hour? Prison is a foreign country embedded in the American heartland where unscrupulous businesses can get labour at prices they cannot get in the market place from non-prisoners. How is any business supposed to compete with that? How are free workers supposed to compete with that? I think people forget that the US only gave up slavery because it cost so much more to feed a slave during the off season rather than just lay them off and let workers fend for themselves until there was work to pay them for again. The prison industry may yet come to the same conclusion if the articles about how much it costs to keep it’s workers alive between jobs are any indication of the real costs.

    74. rene anderson Avatar
      rene anderson

      beaman, you are badly missing the point. People – most;y Black people – are being imprisoned for non-violent, usually drug-related. AND THE PRISON TIMES DO NOT FIT THE CRIMES. Undertand now ?

    75. Otis Avatar

      No problem with prisoners working. It is the corporate profiting which can lead to abuse. Generating wealth off slave labor. Opportunity for abuse especially when you see the disproportionate numbers of people of color and the poor behind bars. Not because they commit more crimes but because they are targeted and/ or they don’t have funds to maximize the opportunities available to others in the system.

    76. Dave Avatar

      So these prisoners are given sentances that are way longer than they should be for nonviolent crimes and are then presented to opportunity to get out of prison “early”. Sure they may not be forced to take the 10-cent-per-hour job but would be stupid to turn it down and rot away in a cell longer (and not being able to provide for their family). So their only option is to provide this essentially free labor to BP, Walmart, etc…so the Waltons and Buffets can continue to fill their vaults!

    77. Marc Avatar

      These people as slaves, as define the word, and when you make up crimes, or impose unreasonable sentences for those crimes, then essentially you are an evil fuck, who hopefully will spend eternity, in hell being served there tresses passes as they had forgiven others

    78. Maurice Avatar

      13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution…

    79. anne ashley Avatar
      anne ashley

      I was wrongly convicted of shoplifting when i was young and it was really my friend that did it,i was cleared after 2 years but the record was never changed or removed,this affected me when i was to go to college and even get a part time job,once a background check is carried out wherever i worked i ended up losing any well paying job till i friend from work introduced me to a group of ethical elite hackers who helped get all my records removed from everywhere they ever existed and till date those records are never hunting me again ,i suggest you contact eliterealhack(((at)))gmail(((dot)))com and thank me later.

    80. Jon Daubon Avatar
      Jon Daubon

      There’s a HUGE difference between jail and prison. Ask anyone who’s been locked up for more than a month.

    81. Steven Orage Avatar

      That’s pretty much the definition of forced labour. If a private individual offered you a choice of being locked up for two years or working for them for free for one year and had a gun to your head that wouldn’t be a choice.

      Plus the American (as well as many other) criminal justice systems is very biased racially and class-wise. Thus black people tend to get longer sentences for the same crime and are more likely to be convicted for marijuana possession despite a lower proportion of the african american population using marijuana.

    82. Diane Gillespie Avatar
      Diane Gillespie

      You are missing a lot of the situation. So many rather petty actions are criminalized now, and sentences with extraordinary length are given. Obviously your friend’s situation didn’t involve force.
      It is you who are generalizing that situation to the very many more that really are.People are jailed in America for very trivial things. Examples: a (disabled)woman’s dog got out, she did not have the $300 fine and was jailed. An 18 year old “runaway” jailed for months.In this state there is no “good time” for good behavior–and one is forced to work or the inmate is punished. Other non-violent crimes are given sentences up to 14 years, and even though they may be paroled, most are quickly returned for minor technical violations: having a beer (even without a crime involving alcohol), being a few minutes late for an appointment, taking a vicodin while in the ER because of pain due to shingles, not being able to find a job fast enough. In fact, most people om probation can expect to go back.Prison has indeed become a business. Programs for treatment, besides being lousy and run by unqualified officers, get the prisons $1000s for each person put in them, and the inmate must wait months or even years sitting there to get in.There is so much you don’t know, and you really should find out more about it before you pronounce judgment. Did you know that the larger percentage of persons jailed have never been convicted? They spend months or more waiting.They simply can’t afford astronomical bail costs. These are not criminally-minded or violent people. There is so much that has changed since the 80s.

      It is a huge cost to the families of inmates–phone calls of 25c/minute, commissary for needed stuff is ridiculous. Never mind–there is too much. But you are very ignorant. It is big business, designed to keep people in and make money.Besides–though you don’t get it–the punishment IS the incarceration, it shouldn’t be forced or unforced labor for $0 or 17c a minute. No one expects a free ride. But they can’t even make money to pay their way. You need to educate yourself before you speak again. Most inmates should not be there. Didn’t you read it?

      The US incarcerates about 750 per 100,000

      JAPAN—–47/100,000 and again,

      So, are you going to say that our citizens are so much more criminal than any or all of these? Of course it’s ridiculous, brutal, greedy, and STUPID!
      And we think we are the world’s example for HUMAN RIGHTS and HUMANITARIANISM??!!

      Scandinavian countries, 55-65 per 100,000.
      (And their prisons are humanitarian AND IT WORKS. We give sentences for years that they give A FEW MONTHS.And they have much less recidivism. Her we haul’em back in, and the larger percent HAVE NOT RE-OFFENDED. We consider them as less-than-human (just like southern slave owners) and use them to make money. And think, as you do–that they deserve all of it.

      So obviously this can’t be that US citizens are on average 10 times worse–10 times more likely to be criminals!!Look it up yourself. I’m glad your friend had a better deal. It happens, usually if you have money. Corporations!! People don’t matter here if someone can make money off them. Criminalize more things, forget the cost of human lives and the waste of human resources.

      I have been studying this for a decade. I challenge you to be honest and check out the FACTS. We incarcerate people now that would not have been so in the recent past. And keep them…to make money.

    83. Jimmy Avatar

      Its common to just dismiss the issue by saying that. BUT the same lobbies that push for broader laws on crime are the ones profiting from prison labor. It was under Clinton that we had mandatory minimums and maximum sentencing The incarceration rate is unproportional to the crime rate compared to other countries and in any other time in american history before reagan executed the war on drugs; Drugs that CIA brought here in the first place during the Iran-Contra era. He pushed for laws that would give drug offenders more time. Also the plead bargain and bail system force poor people to sometimes admit to crimes they didn’t commit. If you dont have money to make bail you have to wait in prison for years sometimes until trial. Only 3% of cases ever make it to trial. The tough on crime era was created by lobbies profiting off of prison and the militarization of police. Now that heroin is becoming a problem in the suburbs, the public is looking at addiction as more of a disease and its not so much a war anymore. There’s definitely a systemic racism behind it all. You could compare it to the Jim Crowe era.

    84. Terry Crossie Avatar
      Terry Crossie

      well said and also nothing wrong with working off your time instead of sitting around learning books , watching TV , golfing etc etc ,idle hands and all.on tax payers dollars.. Profit is naturally a strong drawing card to cheap labour, but 5 dollars an hour is cheap labour and a great wage for someone in side. Prisons need to be returned to the government to run instead of private enterprise. prisons are big money making machines that is the reason we have so many people in priosn.

    85. curtis Avatar

      Not fair to business owners who pay for their labor. Millions off of prison labor does not sit well with me.

    86. ASHLYNN Avatar

      The vast majority – 86 percent – of prisoners have been locked up for non-violent, victimless crimes, many of them drug-related.

    87. joeshmoe Avatar

      shut up jew

    88. Jim Taylor Avatar
      Jim Taylor

      Not everyone that is sentenced, is actually guilty. Often a class of “criminal” is created to generate revenue. Like the article said, the vast majority of prisoners are locked up for non violent, victimless crimes, and drugs. Mostly Cannabis. Cannabis, or Marihuana, as its new criminal name became, was made illegal, simple to stop competition for Hearst. Then, it remained that, to generate revenue! 😉

    89. Nube Brown Avatar
      Nube Brown

      Force is by default, who doesn’t want to shorten their sentence? The problem is many-fold…does the punishment fit the crime in the first place? So it’s time and unpaid work to repay the debt. Why is there profit involved? Why aren’t unemployed people on the outside getting this work at a living wage? And once you’re branded with a felony, etc. you can’t even get a job. The list goes on and on why prison labor is only good for those that profit. Prisons need clients. Prisons should not be privately owned businesses, it leads to corruption and abuse. Read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, it will help in understanding.

    90. Daniel Avatar

      Look at this situation another way. They gave your good friend a shorter and easier sentence, threatening to extend it and make it harder if he did not make them some money. The only difference is in the wording. For all practical purposes, it is exactly the same situation.

      Businesses do this all the time in advertising. Buy 1, get one free! Is it really a deal? Not if the price is inflated, which it almost always is.

      If the justice system is about justice, we need to ask ourselves which sentence was just. Was it the shorter and easier sentence, where you can pass your time with something to do? Or was it the longer and harder sentence, where you have little to do but reflect on your mistakes? Somewhere in these questions lies the answer to your own question, “Where is the force in his situation?”

      1. Daniel Avatar

        Let’s put it another way.

        Slave will receive 30 lashes, because that is what he “deserves”. But the benevolent master is willing to make a deal. If the slave works hard in the fields, with good behavior, he will not receive any lashes at all.

        The force in this situation is in the same place as it was for your friend. You deserve to be punished harshly because I said so, but I am going to let you off easy if you make me some money.

        Back in the day, their excuse was, “He’s black”. Now the excuse is, “He burned a plant and inhaled the smoke,” after they figured out that a lot of black people liked to do this. The end result is exactly the same.

        This is exploitation–not justice.

    91. J Edgar Boston Avatar
      J Edgar Boston

      Slavery, shmavery! For people who have indeed committed crimes of violence (assault, robbery, rape, and murder), I am totally in favor of this judgment. In an earlier day, or in Islamic nations today, they would be tortured and/or executed, which contradicts the principle of “right to life”. At least this way criminals can literally pay their debt to society. Bravo!

    92. Knite7 Avatar

      I agree with your point. However if we stop investing in prisons and put that into school and communities if not your friend other people will have more choices. It’s a business, you might want to check your 401K and other investments. Prisons hurt our economy and community in so many ways. 75% of people incarcerated or non violent.

    93. tony Avatar

      “self brought”? Really? So are there no people in the prison system who have been falsely accused and yet still convicted. Those people are affected by this and yet we do nothing about it. The reality it that no one cares because the world has molded us that way but hey what do I know?

    94. Tim Avatar

      “Convict Leasing”

      Forced or not, that is wrong. Private companies should not be profiting off of a prison system that is increasingly privately run.

    95. John Waddington Avatar
      John Waddington

      The definition of what constitutes a ‘crime’ is being constantly changed to supply ‘slave’ labour for the corporations and Governments. Activities such as harmless, victimless, mind expanding, cannabis possession, supply and use. In the words of the late Arthur Lee, ‘they’re locking them up today and throwing away the key, I wonder who it will be tomorrow, you or me?’. America and anywhere the ‘white man’ controls, is a crime against nature, a crime against free will, a crime agaist humanity. One day I hope the perpetrators will be held accountable.

    96. XYZ Avatar

      Right on, beaman.

    97. Razer Avatar

      I would agree with you 100% but and sadly there is this but in the US over 70% of prisoners are victimless crime.

      It just looks like bad government to me.

    98. Paul Ronco Avatar
      Paul Ronco

      Ancient arguments for slavery. If your friend worked for some other man’s profit then I see that as a problem.

      > Where is the force in his situation?

      GUARANTEE to me WITH EVIDENCE that he wouldn’t have been punished if he’d said no and maybe I will entertain your quaint notions of justice.

    99. Fearless Avatar

      “A good friend of mine”, what BS! The subject is a SYSTEM, not what happened. in a single instance, (if true) according to something, you were TOLD. That’s called “hearsay”, in court, or rumor, misinformation, or bullshlt,everywhere else. In, “your friends” scenario, the “refusal” to participate, was not even a factor, so you, (or he) have no idea what would have occurred had he declined. So, you have exactly, “someone else’s” version of “half” the equation, with which you base your stated opinion. Bravo, I’ll bet you imagine yourself, to be reasonable.

    100. davis Avatar

      What the article excluded is the fact that prisoners are paid literally pennies per hour. For example, for a 8 or 10 hour work day, a prisoner may earn $2.50 for the day. Now, if companies paid what they would have to pay an employee like yourself, then I would agree with you. Let them pay their room and board, Jane taxpayer should not have to pay her rent and theirs too. BUT companies are exploiting prisoners, and who are the majority numbers — Blacks and Latinos.

    101. beedogs Avatar

      You are a fucking moron. The 13th Amendment literally allows slavery in prisons.

      These people are being coerced to work for nothing. That is slavery in no uncertain terms.

      1. Khalifa Judge Avatar

        This is so true, beedogs! The average person who supports this type of exploitation usually doesn’t have all the facts or it doesn’t affect them. Once chickens come home to roost, the perception always changes. If they really were concerned about their tax dollars and corrections, they would carry a bucket to the well, not punching holes it.
        My guideline for dealing with people who speak without the facts is to not argue (against a brick wall) or to fight, but to educate.

    102. Mustang Avatar

      As listed, certain states do this. Don’t be ignorant

    103. A. Lee Brinson Avatar
      A. Lee Brinson

      The 13th amendment states that blacks were free…”unless convicted of a crime”…since then the prison industry has been big business as mass incarceration has risen every year!
      So if you are imprisoned for trumped up or even minor crimes but given harsher penalties than white counterparts…yes…you are forced to take the easier route.
      It would be foolish not to.

      1. Deb Avatar


    104. politically incorrect Avatar
      politically incorrect

      what planet do you live on? most of the people in these slavery camps (prison) are not murderous or pedophiles..but drug dealers ..and the people who purchased from them are are not held accountable. …for you to make such a comment is sad and judgmental..but this is America and even crazy is excepted now.

      1. ryan Avatar

        1/2 the people in on drugs charges never even dealt they where just caught in possession of personal stash, a crime of morality, like charging people with witchcraft or heresy. and for that they are turned into slaves where their very lifes work is taken by them by force to profit another

    105. Manny Avatar

      the thing about prisons is that they should rehabilitate the prisoners not make them work a shit ton of hours little pay or no pay. just because they are criminals doesn’t mean they should be treated like shit.
      made in the USA my ass

    106. cat Avatar

      I think prisoners should only be allowed work assignments to help government not big business. It’s completely unfair to businesses that pay employees a fair wage. I made the choice of boycotting all businesses that use a prison labor force.

    107. Deb Avatar

      ‘Force’ literally means to compel, constrain, or oblige (oneself or someone) to do something (in this case take the job or else you serve a longer sentence) and there is no real choice in that.

    108. Sean Avatar

      So if you get arrested for having unpaid debt and they decide to put you in prison because they decided it was a “heinous” crime and they ask you if you would like to work some of your debt and time off by making some corporation megarich on top of the taxes they don’t pay…you’re ok with that now? Maybe your child skips school…that is illegal too, right? America, things are getting real now! What do you believe is right and wrong?

    109. Kat Avatar

      Their should be a FAIR wage for all!..and those ppl of color who were FALSEY ARRESTED (like say Native Americans in North Dakota at Standing Rock) WERE ARRESTED ON FAKE CHARGES! your statement does NOT work..they were standing up for THEIR TREATIES!..and ndfww how about the WOMAN in IOWA who was ARRESTED ON HER OWN LAND as she fought the pipeline from TAKING HER LAND!..and ND how about that VETERAN JOE JOHNSON WHO WAS LOCKED UP FOR PUTTING 2 PONDS ON HIS OWN FARM??..Joe is STILL in prison!!..

    110. Kevin Junior Avatar
      Kevin Junior

      No, unpaid labor is slavery, and slavery is reprehensible. Its this kind of stupid unempathetic logic that leads to the enforcing of ridiculous, arbitrary laws ie the war on drugs, which hasn’t stopped drug usage, but has enriched the government and private security and prison corporations at the expense of peoples lives. Your inability to think critically is precisely why campaigns like Clintons Crime Bill which exploded mass incarceration with no effect on crime, plausible. Politcians prey on the feeble minded, the fearful and the ignorant in your case to win political points, all the while black and brown people are scapegoated and strangled by regressive public policy that again, only benefits the corporations who profit from mass incarceration. Get a grip..

    111. Meg Avatar

      As someone that’s spent years In prison we were offered the job of making the rubber parts for your cars. These parts seal and keep you safe, we made 50 cents an hour.

    112. Caitlin Avatar

      They deserve to be paid at least minimum wage, and be accorded all other worker’s rights, including safety protections. They should be allowed to opt out of jobs. And there should be no way for the local system to increase incarceration to fill its labor pool. That’s a start.

    113. jim Avatar

      It’s slavery pure and simple. And racist as can be. By design in the 13th Amendment and for the continuing enslavement of blacks after private citizens could no longer own them. And look at all those bigtime corporations using essentially free labor.

    114. Anon Avatar

      What a crock! Coercion and force are the same thing. The profits have motivated companies to lobby the criminal justice system standards for what is a crime. WTF? Some of these opinions look like stockholders and shareholders and profiteers talking, not real people who give a rat about other real people.

    115. Merle Evans Avatar
      Merle Evans

      It would make sense for me to have the money they earn (and they should be paid) go towards their expenses paid by taxpayers. And a part of the money they earn should be given to them for their families or saved til they get out.
      I hope to heaven these big corporations aren’t getting their work done for free…No that would be more like slavery to the advantage of Corp America.
      Anyway – perhaps they learn a trade by working.

    116. Deb~ Avatar

      An old high school friend got himself in lots of trouble when he got into drugs.
      He went to a prison in the U.P. Of Michigan, he said they force you to work, and if you refuse….
      You can go into solitary confinement till you agree to be a slave…
      This is all the while the TaxPayers are paying many thousands per month to house and feed them, while the private prisons make big huge $$$$$ off the Slave Labor…
      Which is illegal in USA…..So why is this legal for a private contractor to enslave millions for profit…?

    117. Lee Avatar

      85% of people in jail are black,that is modern day slavery, half are there because they can’t post bail. Black and brown people get longer sentences for crimes, white get less time or no time at all. These companies we should boycott and put them out of business. Wake up and face facts jails are for profit and that should be illegal, even if you won’t admit it to yourself.

    118. Bob Costas Avatar
      Bob Costas

      “Where is the force in this situation?”

      Um maybe the whole part where they were forced to work if they wanted their sentence lowered or more food than the slave rations they were provided. Choice in this situation is pretty much non existent. Hmmm do i want to stay in prison longer with less food or neither of those?

    119. Lynn Avatar

      Many people are housed in jails who have committed no crime. They are there because they have been accused of a crime and have no money for bail.

      A system that is at its base and core racially and class biased from the type of “crimes” to the judicial system itself is nothing more than a new form of Jim Crow.

    120. acomfort Avatar

      There is some good knowing you are doing productive work.
      There is some bad if no reasonable compensation is paid for for their labor.

      Much better if they were not jailed and could negotiate their wages with the employers. which fits many of those in prison.

      No company should be allowed to pay less than the prevailing wage.

    121. Donnell Boozer Avatar
      Donnell Boozer

      Beaman it’s obvious that you’re a card carrying member of the Republican Party who supported Donald Trump because you really are stupid…

    122. Beth Avatar

      And there should not be a problem with prisoners working if they are paid a reasonable wage. They should not be paid with “perks” or less than anyone they are replacing – for example, if AT&T lays off workers and ‘hires’ 2500 inmates, those inmates should be paid the same amount. There should be no ‘convict leasing’ going on, ever, under any circumstances!!

    123. Sam Avatar

      Jail is vastly different from prison. There are men in there that receive no incentive to work so therefore are forced. I believe people should work, but they should also be given re numeration for their services. The vast majority of these men have families on the outside who are struggling terribly and many funded by the tax payer. The the men were paid their wages could be sent directly to their families to help ease the burden. There are so many areas it would help all round, self worth, hope, model for future. Y’all seem so content to have these people punished and made to suffer. What happens when they get out. I would much rather have someone who had been treated well and shown how to live a productive life, than some one who had been treated badly and is full of anger and resentment living in a street near me. Everyone is so caught up in this, do something wrong pay for it for the rest of your life culture, that they can’t see there is a better way for them and us.

    124. Fuck trump Avatar
      Fuck trump

      Better hope you dont end up in their world you stupid fuck. You sound like a real bootlicking cocksucking trumpansy.

    125. Larry Avatar

      do you believe every prisoner is guilty of a real crime? Then I guess it would be self imposed. We have innocent people in prison and guilty people serving beyond a reasonable term. we have many people in prison who have not committed real crimes. many of those we put in charge of our legal system are real criminals. who makes the laws but crooked politicians? who prosecutes the criminals but crooked lawyers and judges? if our system was trustworthy then maybe some version of workforce could be justified. never should a private corporation profit from this. I’m not anti-government. I am anti-corruption.

    126. Sparrow Avatar

      Coercion is a form of force, and this is about coercion. As well and as noted, in some instances the inmates are not paid but rather “earn privileges” which probably means things such as showers and toothpaste. In other instances they are paid a pittance working for corporations owned by the wealthiest people in the United States.

      Don’t even get me started on the justice system and the generalization that “their bondage is self brought.”

      The concept of slavery exists like everything else in various forms on a continuum. The earlier slavery of black people in the United States was “chattel slavery.” Most people today exist in a system of “wage slavery.” The prison labor invention is a combination of both.

    127. C Avatar

      Perhaps you should trade places with them!

    128. Gorgo Avatar

      Right, they committed a crime and are now housed and fed on the taxpayers dime. No one word about how much it costs the tax payer in this article.

    129. Mark Avatar

      Prison labor takes jobs away from law abiding citizens and keeps wages low which stifles economic growth in America! Low wage prison labor is bad for the American economy.

    130. Santana Avatar

      Blacks make up 5 percent of the population but 25 percent of black Americans are in prison there has been a systemic push to over police. And over criminalize blacks since the end of reconstruction to continue to profit from free labor as the 13th amendment allows slavery if u are convicted and incarcerated a “clever loophole”that has been exploited to give incentive to “jail” and continue to offer plea deals in hopes of getting more convictions which means more slaves u are basing your statement in the context that blacks are treated fair just and equal which if u look at history is definitely not the case.stay woke!

    131. ryan Avatar

      86% of prisoners are in crimes of morality/drug crimes with no violent component. they are simply their because someone else decided they didnt like a life choice/moral choice they made that harmed no one else, delightfully ironic no?
      i particularly like how you argue that theirs good and bad slave masters with good and bad methods of coercing work 😉

    132. Eric Avatar

      I think the point of this article was trying to tell you that 85 % are non-violent offenders and being that our Justice system is really fucked there are probably good knows how many people were really innocent and have to work for free yea that’s modern slavery. Not well said buddy I guess you never had innocent family members go to prison well I have

    133. Linda Marivittori Avatar
      Linda Marivittori

      As a former Correctional Officer in South Carolina..?I do know that the opportunity to work is a highly prized offer for those who are incarcerated.

    134. joyce Avatar

      Who’s entitled to the benefits of unpaid labor? How is ‘crime defined? What about the American reality of children who, without legal representation, have been sentenced to 50 years in prison.. Have you ever heard of the school-to-prison pipeline? Probably not. My grandfather was born in 1860 Virginia slavery.

    135. Raymond Licea Avatar
      Raymond Licea

      If You Believe That’s ok you are a big part of the problem

  2. Marvin Avatar

    SERIOUSLY? Prison is not supposed to be “Day Camp”. It does not matter why you ended up in prison, the fact that you are there say’s you did something stupid. It’s not a vacation… PERIOD. The fact that you want to call it slavery shows just how far left you have gone with your views on life and our penal system.

    1. Brad Avatar

      That ignores the fact that people are consistently placed in prisons simply because of what they are, and not what they did

    2. never_to_return Avatar

      Wow! Some of you people are too ignorant. The point of this article is not whether inmates are criminals or not, or whether they deserve what they do or do not have. The point is that ALL of these jobs could be done by all of the unemployed people in this country (who aren’t in prison) at a decent wage, but they are not, allowing these companies to rake in even higher profits, while the jobless in this country are forced to go on welfare, or commit crimes to make money, which then lands them in prison, where they can be used to do jobs that these highly-profitable corporations should be giving to out-of-work citizens in a vicious circle. And your tax dollars help pay for it all. Sheesh.

      1. Sonu Avatar

        YES THIS COMMENT IS GOLD. The for profit prisons in this country have a vested interest in exploiting prisoners for their own bottom line while providing them with terrible living conditions, non existent wages, and little opportunity for release. Prisons should not be run for profit and the fact that these corporations are able to lobby for harder crime regulation and higher prisoner quotas is a disgrace

      2. Stephen Avatar

        100% right. It is hard to fathom the depth of ignorance of some of the replies to this article.

      3. RVH Avatar

        This, and also the idea that someone who is convicted of a crime deserves every potentially bad consequence there can be.

        “It does not matter why you ended up in prison, the fact that you are there say’s you did something stupid. It’s not a vacation… PERIOD.”

        So why not just kill them all? why not torture them to death? Beat them to death with baseball bats? So what? They’re prisoners, they deserve it.

        What the hell has happened to people?

        1. Manny Avatar

          who fucked up your childhood?

      4. skinny Avatar

        Thank you, finally someone that can think.

      5. rene anderson Avatar
        rene anderson

        Yup American citizens are so dumbed-down they can’t tell the difference between a murderer or kidnapper from someone who commits a non-violent crime. The times are NOT fitting the crimes. The government is locking up good people to benefit corrupt corporate America. I am ashamed to be an American.

      6. Anon Avatar

        Don’t some of these people actually speak as if they might be shareholders? The real people impacted by this don’t have access to the Internet. Prisoners of course do not but the same can be true of the homeless and jobless created by these cheap labor positions. Rare is the person with the luxury of the Internet looking out for these guys. Take a moment and stand up for our brothers and sisters.

    3. Margie Avatar

      The reason you ended up in prison too often is not that you committed a crime but some over zealous prosecutor wanted a lot of convictions to his credit and the lawyers, if there were any, did nothing to save the victims. You should get off your high horse and walk around in someone else’s shoes for a while. And the worst reason in my mind is the for-profit prisons need to keep the cells full in order to maximize profits.

      1. Bonnie Avatar


    4. Timijanel Avatar

      I believe the fact that you cannot appreciate the view and commentary of another perspective shows how shut off you are to reality. Everyone in prison is not guilty and everyone not in prison is innocent.
      Furthermore, confinement alone is the punishment our statutes in this country set for violating it’s laws. Free labor for profit is slavery. Look it up.

      1. Linda Marivittori Avatar
        Linda Marivittori

        I personally see nothing wrong with prisoners having to work in fields or on farms to support themselves..I am tired of paying for them!I work and they can also!

    5. Charl Avatar

      They are fortunate to have a job, learn a trade, get an education.
      Those outside of prison walls should be so fortunate in this economy.

      1. Atims Avatar

        @Charl: Would you like to go to prison in their shoes then?

      2. Nadine Avatar

        They get NO education. Those jobs they are Forced to do? Do NOT EXIST out here. If they did people not confined to prison would have those jobs. I have a son in prison, not jail, Prison. The job isn’t one just anybody wants, it is Not paid, and it does Not translate to anything After sentence is done. They are released with 50 bucks and whatever they were jailed with, be it only in their underwear. Damn people are ridiculously undereducated about our criminal and supposed justice system.

      3. C. Lund Avatar
        C. Lund

        You really need help. Get out in the world, get an education and see what is truly happening. What an ignorant comment!

      4. Leigh Avatar

        All the Trade and education on the inside of prison is all for naught, because they will not be employable once released, none of the companies who they are forced to work for in prison will employ them once on the outside. Do some fact checking so you wouldn’t look so idiotic. Would be nice if they get to vote and live a free life once they serve their time. Not so in amerikkk..

    6. John Jarecki Avatar
      John Jarecki

      You mean like the thousands that get arrested because they are poor and unable to pay fines that pile high and trap them in an unescapable circle? John Oliver did an excellent piece on this look it up and educate yourself.

    7. Clarence Everson Avatar
      Clarence Everson

      It doesn’t matter WHY you are in prison ? You don’t think their are people in prison that aren’t guilty ? Watch the news, people are set free almost every day for crimes they didn’t commit.No one said it should be a day camp, but people shouldn’t be able to profit from your circumstance either.
      day camp, that’s so 1990’s, get educated !

    8. Dana Avatar

      The Constitution permits the enslavement of ANYONE who is convicted of a crime. ANYONE. It’s estimated that each of us breaks three laws a day, often unknowingly. Hope they don’t catch you.

    9. Sjk Avatar

      Marvin, read the 13th Amendment!

    10. Jonna Avatar

      Actually, if you look at countries like Norway who’s prisons are sort of like a day camp, their prisons are far FAR more effective. The purpose of prison there is rehabilitation, NOT retribution. Less than 20% of their prisoners reoffend. In the US, over 2/3 of prisoners are rearrested within 3 years. Clearly they know something we don’t.

    11. Sharper Avatar

      from the article “In places like Texas, however, prison work is mandatory and unpaid – the literal definition of slave labor.” The south went from slavery to sharecropping to this new form of slavery. The “suits” see black and poor people as pools of free labour to be profited from.

    12. g. Avatar

      Work to provide free labor to multi-million dollar corporation is slavery not paying off a debt to society. You people love to see people in bondage. its a sickness with you.

    13. Marc Avatar

      You sad fuck hope you end up there through no fault of your own

    14. Daniel Avatar

      I am just about as conservative as they come, and this is clearly slavery by another name. Justice and profit do not mix. This is a serious conflict of interest.

      Even if we imagine that everybody in prison deserves to be there, we have no right to force these people to work for us. Further, it is incredibly stupid to incentivize locking people up by allowing powerful corporations to profit from their labor. This is begging for ongoing abuse – an absolutely moronic decision.

      Let these people serve their time. Let them work to support themselves and their fellow prisoners as janitors, cooks, etc, on a voluntary basis. But how does helping McDonald’s make another billion fit into our lovely portrait of justice? It does not. Not one bit.

      Yes, many of these people made mistakes. Yes, many of them need to experience the consequences of their actions. But they are still human beings, with thoughts and feelings like the rest of us. It does not magically become OK to enslave them because they are angry, hateful, confused, or misguided. Their humanity does not leap out of their bodies the moment they snatch a purse or sell meth. This system utterly fails to recognize that.

    15. Mark Avatar

      There are people in prison for traffic violations and for using herbal substances for their health which are deemed illegal while pedophiles roam free in the halls of our government making such laws. You who comment on this site have probably broken a law or two which could land you in prison but for the Grace of God. Our justice system is broken and sends innocent people to prison everyday. Judges are forced to make what they know to be unjust judgements because of mandatory sentencing laws and corrupt prosecutors and corrupt cops. Get your head out of the sand.

  3. Mike Avatar

    I was interested in the pharmaceutical companies on that list. How do they utilize the prison labor?

    1. Stephen Avatar

      Guinea pigs?

  4. David Eaglesfield Avatar
    David Eaglesfield

    I have no problem with a sentence of “prison at hard labor”, so long as it is the same sort of labor for which ordinary people get paid, and is not abusive. But (1) it must be compensated at minimum wage rates (or better), and (2) must NOT in any way benefit private persons or corporations but must be 100% within and for the prison systems and for the prisoners themselves. If private enterprise want to use prison labor, the prisoners must be paroled and live out of prison like any other parolee, and being paid the same wages or better by the private enterprise sponsor as are received by non-convicts. I am sure that reasonable regulations can be written which are in this spirit.

    1. g. Avatar


  5. Connie Rogers Avatar
    Connie Rogers

    GOOD! Perhaps the convicted workers are LEARNING how to do something CONSTRUCTIVE instead of DESTRUCTIVE & perhaps they will VALUE THEIR FREEDOM when their sentence has been served… I believe that EVERYONE who has committed VIOLENT CRIMES should be put to death if their crimes involved murder, other than instances where there was proof that the killing occurred during them either defending themselves or others from the one that ended up dead at their hand.. these people should NOT be in prison, but rather heralded as CITIZEN HERO’S… if saying this is SLAVERY makes the DUMBASS LIBERALS happy then let them say it – it’s still a free country & we are not OBLIGATED to redefine FREEDOM OF SPEECH – but know too that there are plenty of people in the USA that appreciate that these CRIMINALS are helping to pay for their incarceration in part by the things they do when they elect to become inmate laborers… at least these people aren’t the LAZY bastards that just lay up & bump asses with the other lazy bastards to get their jollies…. WAKE UP AMERICA – PEOPLE ARE PUTTING SHIT LIKE THIS OUT HERE TO MAKE YOU IGNORANT!!!! KNOW WHY THEY DO WHAT THEY DO & WHY IT IS NEEDED FOR THE INMATES AS WELL!!!

    1. Melody Scott Avatar
      Melody Scott

      The point of the story is that companies are using prison labour to make profits for their shareholders, thereby putting hard-working honest Americans out f work.

    2. Linda Bumpass Avatar
      Linda Bumpass

      Vast majority of prisoners are non-violent. The day my 18 year old son got charged with felony rolling papers that he bought at the local convenience store was the day FELONY lost all meaning. Talk about stupid laws. We are talking about violent felons, and in fact the jails don’t want violent felons. They want people like you and me, non-violent, who can be classified to work in the community with supervision for slave wages so they can make a gazillion dollars.

      1. Bonnie Avatar

        We really need prison reform.

    3. Erin Avatar

      Almost 90% are incarcerated for non violent, victimless crimes. Did you read the whole article? Where did murderers come in? And your warning to people about being ignorant, maybe take your own advice.

    4. Margie Avatar

      I hope that I never meet you. You have been made ignorant somewhere in your life. I assume you are white and have no fear of being falsely imprisoned.

      1. Bonnie Avatar

        I can’t stand when I hear closed minded sheltered ignorant people spout off about how prisoners aren’t human and deserve to be worked to death or go to solitary. They are always people who have no clue and never had to fear being falsely imprisoned or having a loved one imprisoned, so I’m right there with you.

    5. MvH Avatar

      Sounds like you spend your days doing a lot of strenuous things you really do not want to be doing, and thinking highly of yourself for doing them anyway. Poor you.

    6. Timijanel Avatar

      Wow! Ignorant. interesting concept. What is the definition?

      Although, your ranting was all over the place in one sentence, I want to attempt to enlighten.
      1. Look up The Innocence Project. It will change your perspective on the death penalty.
      2. Our criminal justice system has checks and balances. There is a law, with elements of the crime, if proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt the punishment for the offense is outlined. The judge sentences the offender. Free labor for profit is not in any sentencing guidelines.
      3. Free labor for profit is slavery. Period!
      4. All those committing crimes are not imprisoned, they’re just white.
      5. Google is a great search engine for researching facts.

    7. Ken Avatar

      BINGO! Well Said! The Large costs to enable humane confinement for those deserving it, are greatfuly diminished by prison labor. It’s a welcome reduction in tax payer expense.

      If that provides an advantage in making USA made/content products more competitive with foreign products, So Be It.

      Those believing the prison system (s) makes BIG profit for corporations should back up their claim with tax records. All Corps for profit are in business to, and deserve to make a reasonable profit, and are subject to tax laws.

    8. g. Avatar

      Work to provide free labor to multi-million dollar corporations is slavery not paying off a debt to society. You people love to see people in bondage. its a sickness with you.

  6. steven Avatar

    The problem isnt allowing convicts to work by choice for free (theyre prisoners not law abiding employees), the problem is allowing corporations to use said labor and profit greatly, and forcing labor, like in Texas. Actually, texas is the source of many problems and unjust laws in this country. Coincidence that our worst president ever is from texas? The bigger problem is, you have for profit corporate owned and run prisons(many of which have the worst abuses of prisoners and are held the least accountable) in which its own best interest is to build more prisons, incarcerate more people, make more victimless crimes more punishable along with longer sentences by lobbying for more unjust laws, and then use this sizable growing poulation of inmates as a source of almost free labor. That is where the inherent danger and slavery comes into existence. We have already seen throughout the last 2 decades how greedy and unethical and immoral corporations can be and the dangers of greed in capitalism. Many of these corporations and ceos care about nothing other than money and profit, and are willing to do anything they can, and I mean anything they can get away with, no matter how damaging to others and to society, no matter how unethical or immoral. Profit is god and is above the law and more valuable than human life or rights, in their minds. And we are allowing people and corporations whose only concern is profit at any cost, to run a catch 22 racket of owning the prisons, then locking more people up every quarter to ensure a slave labor force. Do people not see what is happening here and what the long term goal and end result is? In 20 to 30 years, the 1% will be absolute rulers without impunity who answer to no one, and the other 99% must either fall in line to serve them or wind up a slave. At least ancient rome did not enslave romans, their own citizens. It may sound far fetched or like a conspiracy tin foil hat theory, but in the 1970s, if someone had said the 1% will come together with a insidious plan to slowly take control of the nation over the next 50 years, it probably would have sounded even more far fetched and paranoid than the above scenario. The facts are, we have seen what the 1% are capable of and willing to do, that they can and do make long term plans to increase their wealth and power and decrease the peoples, thus creating not only a huge unequal distribution of wealth and resources, but also a hugely unequal distribution of governing and rights. Meaning, not only have they stolen all the wealth, at the same time they have used the increased wealth to buy our elected officials and literally the government, which gives them not only the money but the power and the law as well, which once acheived, only serves to ensure that they cannot and will not be opposed. If they can buy the government then they can write their own laws, which only guarantees that their addiction to money and power will only continue to grow and legally there will be no recourse to stop them, and legally anyone who shows any sign of oppossing them or even any dissatisfaction voiced will be a crime punishable by law/incarceration thus ensuring plenty of willing “citizens”, as the alternative will be slavery or death. Trump has even said if elected, he will somehow make it illegal for the press or anyone to speak unfavorably of him. Of course it sounds like almost as much of a pipe dream as the wall, but stranger things have happened. After all, in 1930, most people in germany and the world did not believe that what was to come in the next 10 years could ever happen or would happen. And thats exactly why it did, because not enough people took the threat and danger seriously. The worst thing you can do is to dismiss the very real and dangerous threat/person/movement as not being dangerous or imminent. We all saw and now acknowledge the culpability and
    intentional goal of the
    1%, over 40 years ago, to horde all the wealth and resources they could, and to infiltrate and buy the government, so why should it be so far fetched and hard to believe that part of their plan was to also build, run, and own prisons, lobby for laws to create a prison population to be used as literally free labor, and have full control and final say over it all. But sadly, as usual, enough people will not acknowledge or even care enough to speak out, until it happens to them or their family, which by then is too late. The 1% have bet on the average americans own selfishness and greed and lack of empathy for their fellow citizens or anyone not exactly like them. That is how they have won so far and been so successful. Divide and conquer. Polarize the nation, divide americans/the nation, who would otherwise stand united, and keep them occupied squabling politically, morally, etc. Over the bullshit of the day like which restroom people can use, just long enough to cement the new world order (for lack of less cliche term) in place to where it cannot be reversed or undone. So while we are fighting over trivial bullshit that doesnt even matter in the grand scheme of things, they have been busy sneaking in and passing outrageous laws and statues taking away and eroding the rights we still have left, and to many people arent even aware because they are hellbent on making sure transgender people pee where they are told to pee or trying to shut down planned parenthood or some other nonsense, all the while believing in the illusion of a democracy/republic that is slowly disappearing, being eroded and chipped away at slowly, piece by piece, so that not enough people notice until it is too late and the only recourse would be a violent revolution, which we may very well lose, thanks to our limitless military budget and war machine. Do these morons actually think that their assault rifles will even put a scratch on the most powerful military the world has ever seen? And thanks to our lack of education as americans for the past generation, we are dumb to let this all happen, and we think we will revolt and take out nukes, stealth bombers, and predator drones, with a ar15 assault rife and our righteousness. This is reality, not an avengers movie or some other bullshit. WAKE UP AMURICA! So did I win for longest rant in a comment section? Lol.

    1. Karen Avatar

      You did indeed win for longest rant, but it needed to be said, and spot on. Anyone who watched the movie Idiocracy can realize how close we get to that point every day. Just have to see which of these corporate greedmongers end up being ‘Brawndo’ corp.
      The thing is, what can we do about it, as those with money and power can pretty much squash any of us.

    2. Tj Wheeler Avatar

      Finally someone making sense (instead of cents). I wonder how many of those harsh, liberal bashing commentators, even got beyond the first paragraph. Hey…I realize that it’s tempting to buy into the simplicity that these criminals brought it on themselves…they get what they deserve” But, I bet some of you agree with Trump that the political system is rigged. Well if you think that’s rigged, then just wait till you really examine the, so called, Justice system. The information is out there. Start with some simple google searches…try searching “The new Jim Crow” You can buy, or ask your library to see if they can get for you a book by that same name by Michelle Alexander.Simplistic attacks without doing real research is just verbal bullying. If you have a different informed point of view fine, but you owe it to yourself and out of respect to the forum to do the work of actually researching the subject. Lengthy replies to inform someone , who hasn’t bothered to go past soundbites, is VERY time consuming. I thank the writer above and the person who constructed the original article for their posts.

    3. Sal Monella Avatar
      Sal Monella

      If you want your message to be read, you need to make paragraphs.

    4. vicky sabato Avatar
      vicky sabato

      definitely thumbs up for longest rant. a little too long to read.. I feel sorry for the prisoners who are only in there for minor crimes (like pot), but not much sympathy for the violent criminals. big business should not make profit on them. the profit should go to non profit causes, like st jude childrens, or some sort of rehabilitation education stuff. if you want ’em to read it… make it brief. lol

    5. Jake Avatar

      In addition to what this article already points out, let’s not overlook the fact that, out of 2.4 million people incarcerated, 2 million of them never went to trial.

      The whole “judicial” system nowadays, is geared towards plea bargaining and a non-rich person charged with a crime (innocent or guilty) is going to be pressured to accept a plea bargain.

      The police and prosecutors and, in many cases, even the defense lawyer will use scare tactics to convince the accused to take the deal because if he goes to court, he is likely to lose and serve even more time.

    6. Bonnie Avatar

      well, thank you for saying it.

    7. Neophile Avatar

      Excellent response!

    8. Mark Avatar

      BRAVO! Best comment on the thread!

    9. Dee Stahl Avatar
      Dee Stahl

      Thank you for writing your “rant”. You have clearly stated many of my thoughts and concerns (not a strong enough word). I think the 1% has been moving towards their goal since way before electricity was discovered. Before mechanical/electrical communication i.e. the telegraph, they or their agents were forced to meet in person, requiring traveling great distances. The organizational and communication processes were slow, they took a long time and relied on human beings to assist in the transport. (Note the re “lied” which could confuse things requiring more time etc.) When communication and process were shortened i.e no longer required years,months or days to exchange information via telegraph, telephone, teletype, short wave radio, computers, email etc. everything gained speed and momentum. Now via the internet, information and process exchange is essentially instantaneous. George Orwell wrote about the ultimate outcome of the process in his novel 1984 even though he didn’t imagine the facility with which it could/would be done. We (the people of the world) are now traveling towards our own slavery faster than we imagine (can imagine?). The people of world with the resources (education, mobility etc.) for the most part don’t want to consider the extent of the conspiracy or its momentum. We want bigger houses, luxury vacations, our big screens, our computers, our cars, and other goods and services, our instant new everything. The 1% is feeding us food that will kill us, poisoning the water we drink and the land and oceans on which we depend for food, the air we breathe and killing and incarcerating people all over the world (not just here in the U.S.). They are shouting “don’t look here, look over there” and we are so busy swinging our heads around that we can’t be bothered to take what power we still have and use it. Some days I am sorry I brought daughters into the world.

    10. Leigh Avatar

      Ok I just edited your ‘rant’ so I can actually make heads from tales from it. It was well thought out. But as an Educator wheew!! lol.

  7. denise ward Avatar
    denise ward

    Oh my fn god. This is America.

    1. Troof Avatar

      no longer a democracy

  8. Glenda Willis Avatar
    Glenda Willis

    wow…you are a complete idiot…they have clothes on their back and three meals a day…tv, rec rooms, etc…plus medical and dental care…then there is the cost of the facility to house them, insureance, staff, etc…running a correction facility is not cheap…they made stupid choices and you thnk they should just get a free ride and the working people should support them? Slavery? lol…it is people like you that think people should be rewarded for their bad behaviour that is destroying this country…please note that my son is in jail…he has a job…he earns his money to call home and buy personal items he wants…and…he is thankful for that job and is not whining about his hourly wage…your article is ridiculous to say the least…but thank you for a list of companies that I will make sure I support from here on out

    1. Linda Bumpass Avatar
      Linda Bumpass

      Go to jail then and tell us how great it is.

      1. g. Avatar


      2. Leigh Avatar

        Don’t forget the countless numbers of prisoners who are raped and inhumanely treated everyday. Will that be something you want?

    2. Charl Avatar

      Still they do not have freedom to leave. But those on the outside are finding mobility and freedom to leave more and more restricted as well. Basically,it’s a matter of being restricted to an area your ex and children live. It’s also the cost of relocating.

    3. Heard Enough Avatar
      Heard Enough

      People with ignoramuses for parents are more likely to end up in jail. I don’t doubt that his imprisonment is preferable to whatever abuse he suffered growing up with you.

    4. nancy knox Avatar
      nancy knox

      I am a defense attorney and I think you have a very narrow view, based on a purely subjective analysis. The 6 million people incarcerated right now in this country, are not all “your son” and their situations span a myriad of causal-effect relationships. Your thinking is so defined by your family situation, I believe your objectivity is not to be found here.

    5. g. Avatar

      ork to provide free labor to multi-million dollar corporation is slavery not paying off a debt to society. You people love to see people in bondage. its a sickness with you.

    6. g. Avatar

      work to provide free labor to multi-million dollar corporations is slavery not paying off a debt to society. You people love to see people in bondage. its a sickness with you.

    7. g. Avatar

      You would probably own slaves and tell people that it’s for their own good.

  9. Tamara Avatar

    This is horrifying. Thank you for sharing.

  10. JustTheCat Avatar

    And which president can we thank for legislature and laws, making the United States the highest per capita country in the world for incarcerating its citizens for non violent offenses?

  11. Jibri Avatar

    This website or this post show me what I pretty much already knew but just like anything else once you get the full story and all the details it seems even more unreal this slavery has to end because this is just one more aspect of the New World Order Coming To America that will affect us all change is needed now

    1. Margie Avatar

      I doubt if a lot of the ignoramuses that think it is just fine with them if prisoners are slaves will understand The New World Order but I agree with you.

      1. g. Avatar

        They won’t know what hit them!

  12. Sean Avatar

    Sara, I know some people in prison and you might want to research a topic firsthand before you attempt to write about it.
    1. Prisoners have the option to work in “industry” or to just be facility cleaners, cooks, etc.
    2. Prisoners who decide to work in “industry” have their work hours factored in to their good behavior time.
    3. Prisoners get paid for working these jobs which allows them to save money for release. This combined with job skills they learn gives them a much greater chance to break the crime/jail cycle.

    1. Linda Bumpass Avatar
      Linda Bumpass

      $0.65 for a full day of labor is not pay. That is laughable. This is a chain gang labor camp and why Diversity, Inc wrote a multiple page spread on the industrial prison complex many years back. “The Industrial Prison Complex: Biased, Predatory, and Growing”

    2. Debra Avatar

      When corporations can profit from incarceration and our government is controlled by corporate internets, incarceration does become the new slavery. My mother was killed by a corporate prison in Texas. There is not much on this earth that does greater evil.

  13. Brian Avatar

    Thank you for enlightening us on this topic.

  14. Shannon Avatar

    I am not sure how I feel about Criminals being housed, feed, clothed and monitored by law abbiding citizens given the chance to learn work habits and a little money.
    They didnt care who they hurt financially or worse when they committed the crimes.
    What should we do, shut down the prisons and let them continue their bad criminal behaviors? There is a low percentage of them that are reformed when put on probation.
    I do not care how sad their prison experience is! Look at how many are repete offenders.
    Dont compare our country to others, such as China….Those ppl spill harmful products from kids toys to bath salts that they know our addicts use into our country by the millions, they are rich because we allow them to flood our market, so why would they need to commit crimes.
    Bottom line is, criminals deserve nothing, and are fortunate that these jobs and training are available to them.

    1. Debra Avatar

      My mother was incarcerated for five years for a broken tail light coupled with $15 worth of drugs scraped off of the back seat of a borrowed car. She made $20 an hour in the outside world as a geological draftsperson. She made $0.19 an hour in prison. sometimes they went to work events. women were raped. She was not allowed to use even crayons because they did not carry those at the prison commissary. She made art with candies and spittle. By the time she was released, she was riddled with breast cancer. I guess prisoners in this for profit Texas prison did not “deserve” health care either. she applied for compassionate leave and was denied. Make no mistake. Corporate prisons are evil.

      1. Sara Burrows Avatar

        <3 I’m sorry to hear that Debra <3 Thank you for speaking out!

  15. sherry Andersen Avatar
    sherry Andersen

    I think it is completely acceptable to have prisoners work to help support the cost of their incarceration. They are provided shelter food showers…I have to work to have those things. When you make choices that land you in the prison system, I do not think that should be a labor free stay…

    1. Linda Bumpass Avatar
      Linda Bumpass

      You realize the prison complex has grown to a multi billion profit industry right? They have charts talking about future growth potential and write contracts with govt as to how many beds the govt will pay for. You realize the theft occurring within many of the prisons by those who run them exceeds that of the inmates? It is a system rotten inside out.

      Psalm 102:19-20 For he has looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth; To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death.

      1. g. Avatar

        These people have been taught from birth to enslave and exploit and ridicule minorities. Its in their blood. They wont ever see whats wrong with enslaving others. they just change the name and find new ways of doing it.

  16. Mike Avatar

    Ok. If prison labor was stopped .. what then would the prisoners do during the day? Should monies from prison labor be increased and given to the prisoner? Could monies be directed somewhere for a greater good? What should be a result of prison labor?

    1. Heard Enough Avatar
      Heard Enough

      What about rehabilitation, developing skill sets that decrease the likelihood of reoffending. Sweatshop labor and menial tasks do nothing to give prisoners skills that can use on the outside. So if these simpleminded idiots are so upset by their ‘freeloading’ how about some programs in place that offer them the possibility of contributing to society in a productive way. Like the program where they trained dogs that were about to be euthanized so they could be adopted. If they’re given a chance to do something esteemable the chance of reoffending is reduced.

      1. g. Avatar

        These people have been taught from birth to enslave and exploit and ridicule minorities. Its in their blood. They wont ever see whats wrong with enslaving others. they just change the name and find new ways of doing it.

  17. roma thomas Avatar

    Disgusting abuses and slavery! IF we are a so-called Christian nation how can this mistreatment of prisoners be called Christian?

    We do NOT and CANNOT train animals by mistreating them. WHY can’t leaders of our nation learn some common sense — however, they don’t learn due to be fed by corporate money/lobbyist. We definitely NEED prison reform in this country!

    The EPA should also be examining the horrid environmental issues created by mass incarceration.

    1. Bob Avatar

      I’m not sure I understand how having prisoners work is “mistreating” them. No one hands me my room and board free, I have to work for it.

      1. Debra Avatar

        You have a choice as to what kind of work you do. You are paid more than $0.19 an hour. You are not at risk of being raped on the job. My mother had no choice. Corporate prison killed her.

        1. Sara Burrows Avatar

          <3 I’m sorry to hear that Debra <3 Thank you for speaking out!

  18. Karan Henley Haugh Avatar

    This whole thing is unacceptable and ridiculous in a supposedly democratic country.

  19. Christopher Avatar

    Thanks, Mr. And Mrs. Clinton!

    1. Troof Avatar

      Wal-Mart thanks Hillary for her service

  20. Louisa McCutcheon Avatar
    Louisa McCutcheon

    And we think the days of slavery where over

    1. g. Avatar

      These people have been taught from birth to enslave and exploit and ridicule minorities. Its in their blood. They wont ever see whats wrong with enslaving others. they just change the name and find new ways of doing it.

  21. Louisa McCutcheon Avatar
    Louisa McCutcheon

    And we thought that the days of slavery were over

  22. Susan Farhoud Avatar
    Susan Farhoud

    Absolutely nothing wrong with this! Prison is not meant to be fun. Why should the rest of society be forced to pay to house, feed and otherwise provide for people who can’t manage to act in a civilized manner.If you put yourself in that situation,then I see nothing wrong with forcing you to work to earn your keep. There are many, many people in this world live in deplorable conditions and work hard every day just to survive.Through no fault of their own! There are People who would LOVE to trade places with these poor “slaves” wah wah wah…. If you are not happy with the situation. Here’s a solution. OBEY THE LAW!

    1. Debra Avatar

      So a woman pulled over in a borrowed car from which $15 worth of illegal substances are scraped from the back seat deserves five years of hard labor? because that is what my mother got. She was raped. She had inadequate health care. 5 years thus became a death sentence. She worked for nineteen cents per hour and was dying of breast cancer by the time she got out. She did not deserve that.

  23. Tabra Tunoa Avatar
    Tabra Tunoa

    It’s hard to believe that Costco is using prison labor too. I thought they were one of the “good guys”. I’m very disappointed. Now I understand how they can make everything so unbelievably

    1. Leigh Avatar

      In WWII the wives of German Officers got so many jewelry and nice things that was taken off the ‘prisoners/Jews’, they never asked where they came from, most of them knew their husbands couldn’t afford it but the accepted the presents and remained silent. If WE want to see an end to this unjust system WE need to speak up against it. No one is innocent. Remember that. Either you are condemning an act or you are complicit in it.

      1. Debra Avatar


  24. Bass Avatar

    The idea of using the legal system to make profit by preying upon citizens, especially focusing on certain racial groups or other divides, is sick and unethical. At the end of the day, economy rules, not the law.

  25. Adrienne powell Avatar
    Adrienne powell

    I have such mixed feelings. I feel prisoners should earn their keep. Although, I don’t think corporate America should profit. The taxpayers pay the expense of incarcerated imates. This articles shows it as it is “modern slavery!” Who pays the price? Taxpayers and All those with unjust sentences! Mostly those of color!

  26. Jude Mathis Avatar
    Jude Mathis

    …and why are they all black? This is outrageous!

    1. Sal Monella Avatar
      Sal Monella

      Because they commit crimes out of proportion to their numbers?

      1. Troof Avatar

        also, black behavior is criminalized by law far more often than white behavior (see also: Wall Street)

  27. bee Avatar


    1. Sal Monella Avatar
      Sal Monella

      Use of CAPITAL LETTERS make your OPINION much more PERSUASIVE.

  28. James Thomas Avatar

    I think it’s a good use of prisoners time. Better than sitting on their ass in prison doing nothing. They should be paid a very minimal wage and their wages given to the victims of crime and/or help payoff fines for their crimes. And saving tax dollars doing public property clean-up or construction.

  29. RAJ KUMAR Avatar

    great efforts and shown hidden faces of the world capitalist………

  30. Elizabeth Strong Avatar
    Elizabeth Strong

    This is so very wrong and private prisons must be closed.

  31. Eileen Regan Avatar
    Eileen Regan

    This just impossible to believe. Where is the uproar?

    1. Troof Avatar

      Can’t hate what you don’t see. The MSM is silent.

  32. Darlene Avatar

    It does not surprise me in the least that prisoners are the new slaves. Which fully explains why prison reform is difficult to at best to get media attention. Think about it, if this were to be covered on local or national news their commercial sponsors like those companies mentioned in this article would pull their ad’s so fast the news anchors, the multi-media C.E.O.’s would all be standing in the unemployment line the next day.

  33. Bob Avatar

    Interesting reading.
    Good info, but you’re not reporting how much money a company pays the prison system to have the inmates work with/for them.

    The inmates get, let’s say 2.00 a day, How much does the state they are in prison in get paid?

    Yes, it’s labor.

    I’ve made license plates, stainless steel products (kitchen sinks, counters, everything!) while in prison.

    Yes, labor.

    And how much does the prison labor offset the cost to taxpayer for keeping prisons open?

  34. Artafia Hassan Avatar
    Artafia Hassan

    How do we support this? Prisoners should work to maintain their body mechanism and very importantly decrease the financial burden that is placed on their family. Perhaps increase their wages to help their family. This is why our men is in jail for life.

  35. Cynthia Culverhouse Avatar
    Cynthia Culverhouse

    Prisoner’s who work need to be paid minimum wages… so they can pay off fines and help support their families… more than likely they are on time, never absent, and work overtime. I am praying these conditions change after all they are still human, no matter the crime. It’s not like they can just take off and never come back.

  36. Joe Haas Avatar

    Thank you Sarah, [ http: // returntonow dot net/ 2016/ 06/13/ prison-labor-is-the-new-american-slavery/ ] and especially for the comment under the list: “While not all prisoners are “forced” to work, most “opt” to because life would be even more miserable if they didn’t, as they have to purchase pretty much everything above the barest necessities (and sometimes those too) with their hard-earned pennies. Some of them have legal fines to pay off and families to support on the outside. Often they come out more indebted than when they went in.” But ought this to be AFTER they complete the course with #x-number of classes in the subject matter of which they are incarcerated? They are supposed to be F.C.I. of Federal “Correctional” Institutions, of for the prisoner to “learn” of their deficiencies. A friend is in for which the Feds converted a CIVIL case he had against an agent of “Uncle Sam” into a CRIMINAL case by TAKING his case without the required 28USC636(c)(1) “consent” from BOTH parties: Plaintiff AND Defendant. An illegal “Removal” and THEFT of his personal property too, as here in N.H. the lien holder SHALL both R.S.A. Chapter 444:3 “post” notice and 444:6 “account” to City Hall but that the crook at MAYFLOWER MOVERS in Nashua, N.H. [ “McLaughlin Transportation” ] let his buddies buy such at bargain rates as they advertised it as a PUBLIC Auction but kept it PRIVATE to only those he, the owner allowed in! And so $x therefrom as “federal funds” to others is like giving away “blood money” that at least one County Commissioner group has voted no! The end does NOT justify the means, because that was and is a violation of due process of law that they took a N.H. (RSA 42:1 and) 92:2 to Article 84 oath to honor. And so is one of the Federal Reps going to do anything about it? Nope, not here, in this state because we do not elect our “judicial Officers” (as in 10 other states too) and so by the 14th Amendment, Section 2, the representation in Congress SHALL be reduced, but that would take away one of their jobs, and so they REFUSE to put a Section 5 WAY of dealing with this on the books. Plus what is wrong with “Bank of America”? WHY are they on the list? I know that they refuse to write that 31CFR100.2 letter when us jurors and State Reps only make $3.33 or less per hour as back to the 1950s and beyond as established then of to be paid in silver dollars, but now have to take their lies that we have supposedly “consent”ed to The Coinage Act of 1965 that is not the case. See Chapter 28 Laws of N.H. of 1794 in Vol. 6 @ page 155 as we only consented to The Coinage Act of 1792 is still the law. PLEASE reply as I’d like to send the B.O.A. banker your reply for his comment to maybe take up to the State Director.

    1. Sal Monella Avatar
      Sal Monella

      Joe, break it up into paragraphs or people won’t read it.

  37. Maureen H Loyacono Avatar
    Maureen H Loyacono

    How is this possible? Are no civil rights groups paying attention to this? Where are the NAACP and American Civil Liberties Union, and other groups in dealing with this horror? Perhaps we need to call it to their attention and to our state legislators and to the Congress via individual messages. This is an outrage.

  38. Anna Avatar

    I’m sorry to disagree but shouldn’t they work or the tax payers supposed to support them too. Find something else to bitch about.they should pay for 3 hits and a cot. I have to work

  39. Keith Avatar

    How can we stop this.

    1. George Avatar

      The easy way, is for people to stop committing crimes. Prison was never meant to be a means of support….it was punishment, and the scope of the punishment was intended to deter people from breaking the law. That was very effective until we ‘modernized’ things…improving conditions, providing entertainment, food and conjugal visits. Today’s people have no fear of being incarcerated, especially those on the low end of the income scale…so rather than getting a job, they choose the easy way. There is no such thing as a victim less crime…those taxpayers who are paying for the prisons are victims, too!

      1. Leigh Avatar

        George you are a white privileged male and an asshole!! Good luck trying to get into heaven!

  40. John Donaldson Avatar
    John Donaldson

    This is not surprising. I worked for state corrections and got a chance to see how prison labor was used to make state office supplies and the inmates were paid less than a dollar per day for 12 hour days. While it is better than sitting in a cell all day long, it is uncomfortably close to slavery. Mass incarceration must be a benefit for the companies that get a discount from exploitation of black people, but some white boys work too. A prisoner is a prisoner. They have very little rights and far fewer choices. Have you ever been confined to a cage for most of the day? Good, bad, or indifferent, it’s something to do while you are serving time. The best thing to do is to avoid being locked up.

  41. amanda Avatar

    that’s disgusting…these are still people who are being forced into slavery

  42. wie Avatar

    I don’t see a problem with this. Hellooo…they are prisoners. I don’t give a rats ass that a child rapist has to go pick up watermelon. Who gives a shit!!!!

  43. I George Avatar

    Been there done that

  44. Mike Avatar

    Stop breaking the law and see how that works out for them.

  45. Penny Avatar

    What’s wrong with having them work off their debt to society? Also
    hopefully they are to tired at the end of the day to get into fighting etc. Hundreds of thousands of people work for minimum wage or less [waitstaff] just to be able to make it from day to day. Why should prisoners be allowed to sit day to day and live off everyone else, while we pay for their keep. Beside they can learn a skill so that when they do get out they will have work experience.

    1. CVG Avatar

      They are only working to help corporations, who lobby to make laws to keep them their longer. There work doesn’t help society, it helps rich people stay rich.

  46. D.F. Avatar

    Don’t like it don’t go to jail. You actually give a rat’s patootie whether the rapist of your child, the murderer of your family member, the person who stole your identity and caused you to have issues you have explain for he next ten years or more? If they break the law it’s about time they pay for the three hots and cot we have been contributing in state taxes to house these criminals. Yea!!! For Texas!!!!

    1. Leigh Avatar

      Lets, do onto others as we’ll have them do unto us. The judge that was caught and charged with sending juveniles to prison for profit will be.

  47. Mary Bellard Avatar
    Mary Bellard

    Im sickened again.

  48. Robert Spies Avatar
    Robert Spies

    In an environment where the `Prime Objective’ of corporations is `making money’, what do your expect?

    This article is one of thousands of reasons why the `Prime Objective’ of the charters of all corporations doing business in the United States must be retroactively changed from `Making Money’ to `Serving the People.’ Any corporation that cannot make money while `Serving the People’ should not exist. The gross assets of management, board members, stock holders and the corporation itself, of any corporation found to NOT be `Serving the People’ become available for reparations. In addition, the management, board members, stock holders of such corporations are forever forbidden to participate in other corporations.

  49. joycelucas Avatar


    1. joycelucas Avatar

      set the non-felons free

  50. Joy Ann Jamieson Avatar
    Joy Ann Jamieson

    You know shell has a program to hire African with not experience. The last thing they get is Africans with no experience – I mean they are here in my city – right beside me – and then they disappear. I think they are hiring them to retire 1 very special engineer – her name is Feona Hays – you would think there would be a loop hole somewhere – there is not one loop hole to go through. You know if they quit their job and get one with KING COIL – they actually survive.

  51. Daniel Guillot Avatar
    Daniel Guillot

    You know our country is on the wrong track when citizens’ freedom becomes bad for business and the states are siding with businesses by locking up more citizens.
    about the plague that’s called the private prison industry. A lot has changed since then, but not for the betterment of the American people. States aren’t filling enough beds for the private prison companies, so now, taxpayers are being sued because there aren’t enough criminals.
    These aren’t frivolous lawsuits, either. Several government agencies knowingly signed contractswith private prison companies that guarantee a minimum occupancy or quota. In fact, In the Public Interest has found that nearly 2/3 of the contracts have quota clauses. In California, for example, there is a guarantee of 70 percent occupancy and in Arizona, nearly 100 percent.

  52. Kent Van Cleave Avatar

    Prisons for profit creates a demand for prisoners. More than one judge has already been convicted of taking money from the private prison industry – effectively selling the convicted into slavery.

  53. j marshall Avatar
    j marshall

    Ah yes, “WWJD”? a “Christian” nation we are!!

  54. Jan Rautio Avatar
    Jan Rautio

    I wonder how many of the sentencing judges are getting kickbacks for long terms, and a high “conviction” rate.

  55. Judith Riley Avatar
    Judith Riley

    actually slavery under the name of indentured servitude did not end until 1917

  56. roberta stout Avatar
    roberta stout

    Maybe It would be better if the inmates sat around watched tv and lifted weights or played xbox after all it certainly isn’t fair for them to have to do any work!!! Fighting in the yards keeps them in shape and tired so they can rest better at night!

    1. Leigh Avatar

      I see folks do not understand anything they read here, it’s not that they are working or have to work; it’s for whom they are working. Let it be for non-profit, let go back to the communities and the families they wronged not to big corporations who refuse to hire ‘free’ labor on the outside. And after they’ve served their time, set them free, allow them to vote and live where the want. The non-felons I’m speaking about, the victimless ‘crimes’. Just as prohibition had victims so is this so-called ‘war on drugs’ soon this would not longer be a crime. What would happen then?

  57. Brenda Holt Avatar
    Brenda Holt

    I don’t see a problem with them working and earning privileges. The prison makes money from their work which means hopefully the taxpayers aren’t having to pay as much to support them.

  58. Nicole Tarbuck Avatar
    Nicole Tarbuck

    What can we do to help abolish this disgusting practice?

    1. George Avatar

      stop breaking the law…its really that simple!

  59. Barbara Avatar

    If you could give some details why Costco is on this list, I will do some sort of action with that information. They pride themselves on employee practices, and are generally a good business model, so I am surprised they made this list.

    1. Leigh Avatar

      Capitalism was built upon the back of ‘free labor’. Plain and simple.

  60. […] RELATED: How Prison Labor is the New American Slavery […]

  61. Linda Bumpass Avatar
    Linda Bumpass

    Procter & Gamble shouldn’t be on the list. Same as commenter from Costco, send me the information and I will follow up.

    I noticed long ago when dragged into the industrial prison complex by a family member that it truly is an industrial complex. I call it the modern day slave trade. Onerous laws are lobbied for by the prison industry, lawmakers pass it while taking huge million dollar donations into their campaigns, and the laws produce more slaves. I’ve seen it all and not just the prison labor industry where they undercut contracts by small business for keeping parks, cutting graveyards, anything where some labor can be used. The phone contracts are also highly shady as are the way prisoner property can be taken away without due process. It is all a money game. Wow, the things I saw surely changed my thinking on who the good guys are. Hard to support a system where those in charge are stealing more than the inmates.

  62. Linda Bumpass Avatar
    Linda Bumpass

    The comments show complete ignorance of facts. Pay minimum wage, and if the system wants to steal those earned monies by charging $5 a minute for a phone call then there should be an audit-able money trail. Wages going in and money going out. Kentucky State prisons class D facility was paying $0.65 a day though years back so that isn’t minimum wage.

    Last time I suggested that a system be improved to be audit-able after 2 phone cards worth $30 went missing, my son’s cell was raided, his radio with his bible on it was hurled to the floor, he was put into solitary for 10 days, and his bible went missing. The guy I talked to said his bible might have been thrown in the trash because it was out of his bag and was a threat to prisoner safety. Upon clarification questions he told me the bible was a fire hazard and when I protested the bible was protected in KY and the only item allowed in solitary, the staff guy told me that prisoner safety trumps both state and federal law. Raise my right hand to the good Lord and bear testimony. Boone County Jail. Kentucky.

  63. never_to_return Avatar

    Wow! Some of you people are too ignorant. The point of this article is not whether inmates are criminals or not, or whether they deserve what they do or do not have. The point is that ALL of these jobs could be done by all of the unemployed people in this country (who aren’t in prison) at a decent wage, but they are not, allowing these companies to rake in even higher profits, while the jobless in this country are forced to go on welfare, or commit crimes to make money, which then lands them in prison, where they can be used to do jobs that these highly-profitable corporations should be giving to out-of-work citizens in a vicious circle. And your tax dollars help pay for it all. Sheesh.

  64. ddepriest Avatar

    Thank you Steven (June 16, 2016) for your enlightening, and therefore necessarily long, comments. I wish more people would not only read what you have to say, but actually allow themselves to think and learn. Unfortunately, most people are lazy and find false comfort in remaining ignorant and allowing others to dictate their lives and their thoughts for them; thus relinquishing their own responsibility and culpability as a member of the flawed society in which we live..while others of good intent are simply incapable of seeing the forest for the trees ie the larger picture. I wish I had the technological know-how to post your comments to my fb page so I could share them with others…

    1. Janet Avatar

      Take a picture. Post on your Facebook. That would be pretty simple.

  65. Amy G Avatar
    Amy G

    So, according to this standard, if I punish my children by making them do chores, I am facilitating slavery? Come on….this is the stupidest thing I have ever heard.

  66. Michael Rudmin Avatar
    Michael Rudmin

    I’m going to add in another factor: While the prison system is NOT paying their workers, moneys that are owed to the government are mounting at exorbitant loan shark rates.


    A number of states criminalize the inability to pay at the rate desired.


    Back to work, SLAVE.

    Tonight I shall pray for the Eagle to burn. Not just the US, but the entire Holy Roman Empire eagle.

    It is time that men were again able to hope in the mercy (and justice) of God.

    May the mountain be lifted up and cast into the sea. Can I hear an AMEN?

  67. Juanita Bracken Avatar
    Juanita Bracken

    I would also like to know how Costco is involved in this.

  68. Juanita Bracken Avatar
    Juanita Bracken

    It is truly a sad time in this country. So many people imprisoned for non-violent offenses, and the majority of them are black. No wonder the federal govt and congress don’t want to legalize Marajuana, they would lose out on the free labor.

  69. […] Source: How Prison Labor is the New American Slavery and Most of Us Unknowingly Support it […]

  70. Dabby Avatar

    This is wickedness in the highest order. My country Niegria can condore this and will not let it take much far if they find this stupid act going on the the society. Trust Nigerians… They will verge for WAR!!!!

  71. AstraRaskroy Avatar

    Most Japanese prisoners are required to engage in prison labour, often in manufacturing parts which are then sold cheaply to private Japanese companies. This practice has raised charges of unfair competition since the prisoners’ wages are far below market rate.

  72. Pamela Avatar

    This is a shocking indictment on a society claiming to lead the free world.
    Even worse is the acceptance reflected in many comments of this appalling abuse of human rights. No questioning of scale of incarceration or , why so many Black Americans suffer in this justice system.
    Can Americans not see where this leads? Guantanamo rendition torture – crimes against humanity for all

  73. William Dennis Avatar

    Prison labor seems appropriate for betterment of prison itself. Farming to feed prison population or non-profit enterprises (like food banks). Industrial and manufacture active such as production of items needed by prisons and the benefactor Federal, State or local government providing corrective services for convicts and their wards including construction labor. Other applications should include: Maintenance labor of all sorts. Food service labor. Landscaping labor. Garment production. All for humane administration of corrective services.

  74. Bill Clearlake Avatar
    Bill Clearlake

    Very smart to make slavery legal and acceptable by adding that little loophole to the 13th Amendment. No wonder the Southern states never challenged it like “Obamacare” and Gay Marriage, Abortion rights, and other laws have been challenged. The 13th Amendment was ratified in less than two years and has never been challenged.

  75. G Avatar

    I can’t say as I see the problem here. Although I believe there are probably some innocent people in prison, the vast majority chose, by their actions to be there. I think it is an absolute abomination to equate prison labor with slavery considering the very simple fact that those who were subjected to actual slavery were captured abroad or were born into the circumstance and never had any opportunity to choose otherwise. To the author, I must say, the premise of your article is both, without merit, and an absolute insult to every person and their descendants who actually endured slavery. Assuming you were a good student in journalism school, I think you have a reasonable cause of action against your university and your professors for failure to deliver the quality of education you paid for. Absent that primary fact, you have no cause of action and should quietly go away in shame.

  76. Jake Avatar

    In addition to what this article already points out, let’s not overlook the fact that, out of 2.4 million people incarcerated, 2 million of them never went to trial.

    The whole “judicial” system nowadays, is geared towards plea bargaining and a non-rich person charged with a crime (innocent or guilty) is going to be pressured to accept a plea bargain.

    The police and prosecutors and, in many cases, even the defense lawyer will use scare tactics to convince the accused to take the deal because if he goes to court, he is likely to lose and serve even more time.

  77. John Avatar

    While there are way too many people in jail who shouldn’t be and the system appears broken in so many ways I’d be all for prisoners who are justifiably in jail working for corporations w/one caveat – it is a job training program that REQUIRES the corporation ’employing’ the prisoner to hire the now ‘trained’ prisoner upon their release so they can move on w/their lives. The corporation would now have a vested interest in seeing a ‘correctional institution’ graduate a valuable new employee and the ex-prisoner, the corporation and society at large would see a benefit. Do you think that might work?

  78. Dawn Appelberg Avatar
    Dawn Appelberg

    This is completely rediculous and shows jsut how off the trails we have gone. Prisoners deserve to do nothing morethan repay thier debt to soceity. I am 100% for chain gangs and using prison labor. Do the crime do the time.

  79. Randy Avatar

    If you are trying to use logic to accept this then your mind is sick and full of distortions…. Try following your heart for awhile and see where it takes you… The prison system is no longer a servant of our society, it is to serve the corporate greed out of control… We will take it back with “common sense” and service to others… Lead with your heart, take a chance, it’s the human thing to do…✌️

  80. free Cats and Kittens san diego Avatar

    Yelling at or hitting your cats isn’t only mean, it’ll backfire on you.
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  81. […] If we cannot see it for what it is, it’s because institutionalized racism and the vast militarized penal system has become the new normal in labor relations for many corporations. When you eat at McDonalds, Wendy’s or Starbucks, shop at Walmart or JC Penny; make a call on Sprint or Version Wireless; book a reservation on Avis or American Airlines; enjoy Victorias’s Secrets lingerie or invest with Fidelity you are consuming slave labor. And that is just the start of it. […]

  82. […] Source: How Prison Labor is the New American Slavery and Most of Us Unknowingly Support it […]

  83. how old Is donald trump age Avatar

    It needs a marketing system and marketing knowledge to achieve any organization opportunity.
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  84. John Avatar

    I only agree with article to the extent that the system needs attention to ensure punishments are implemented fairly, i.e. Some idiot is not getting a lighter sentence for the crime of rape because of his color. There are too many cases where you see people who have records with 30 or more previous convictions. But narcotics, stealing, even choosing to do time instead of paying a fine. If you’ve committed the act that has put your there, too many Jails have TV, Gyms etc. that for some make it a country club so prison is not the deterrent it is supposed to be. I believe, if you in prison you should be working for the state with no pay. If I committed a crime that put me there, I would expect it. Ultimately, if you do the crime, you do the time. One thing this article doesn’t touch on, is how many commit crimes and then try to blame society or other factors, when ultimately the choice for the action was there own.

  85. fuck Avatar


  86. Samsung Avatar

    Individual stories are compelling. For the slave toiling in the antebellum south, a kindly master was a godsend. Burl Cain may be the very best that the inmates of Angola prison could hope for, a rare thoughtful, kindly, creative sort of warden. He is almost certainly a man trying to do the best he can for a population damned and forgotten by society with the resources he has available.

  87. Erma Holmes Avatar
    Erma Holmes

    God left the record ” in the last days,before the end of this lawless age,man will not adhere to truth,will rather hear fairy tales (lies),his love for other’s will wax cold”. Love of money (greed)is the Root of All evil! “Man will establish his own righteousness but not according to the righteousness of Almighty God”. This world is selfish,non-caring,as a friend says, it’s all about I, Me and My! Man have made God’s word a lie! (Romans 1:18-31). God said it will be as it was in the days of Noah,and Sodom and Gomorrah before He returns! Read it for yourself! It’s just as He said! It’s going to get worse as He said! It’s happening right before our eyes! The days of Hitler are coming again! We’re fiddling and making merry while on our way to captivity! The powers that be are laughing all the way to the banks,and their offshore accounts!

  88. PatternMaker Avatar

    Individual stories are compelling. For the slave toiling in the antebellum south, a kindly master was a godsend. Burl Cain may be the very best that the inmates of Angola prison could hope for, a rare thoughtful, kindly, creative sort of warden. He is almost certainly a man trying to do the best he can for a population damned and forgotten by society with the resources he has available.

  89. Punto Switcher Avatar

    Individual stories are compelling. For the slave toiling in the antebellum south, a kindly master was a godsend. Burl Cain may be the very best that the inmates of Angola prison could hope for, a rare thoughtful, kindly, creative sort of warden. He is almost certainly a man trying to do the best he can for a population damned and forgotten by society with the resources he has available.

  90. […] article “How Prison Labor is the New American Slavery and Most of Us Unknowingly Support it”) […]

  91. Michael Avatar

    What a strange article…

    If we’re incarcerating more people than any other country, then our punishment for crimes must be the most pathetic on the planet.

    Enslave away! Hopefully they learn then life lessons they were sent there to contemplate… like a reaping what you sow.

    1. Troof Avatar

      The prison industry has been pedaling the lie of Reform for decades, when its only punitive. They are not interested in teaching lessons only maximizing profits and ensuring a steady flow of laborers through recidivism.

  92. James Thomsen Avatar
    James Thomsen

    1. In the 1990s I ran a company where we did use prison labor (Washington State) and not because it was cheaper, but because we thought it was going good. I visited the prison 5 or 6 times and talked with the inmates working on our projects and they always asked if we could find more work so other inmates could also work. We stopped the program when student groups complained. That still makes me sad.
    2. In Venice, Italy they have a program using prison workers, but they are still covered by the Italian labor laws, including sick leave, etc. And they have shops outside the prison where inmates, after being released, can work. Rather than just say no more prison work we should look at copying this program:

  93. […] They purchase their produce from prison farms, where laborers often face long hours in blazing heat without adequate food or water.  Other companies that notoriously use prison labor are Victoria’s Secret, AT&T and BP (British Petrolium). […]

  94. […] They purchase their produce from prison farms, where laborers often face long hours in blazing heat without adequate food or water.  Other companies that notoriously use prison labor are Victoria’s Secret, AT&T and BP (British Petrolium). […]

  95. […] They purchase their produce from prison farms, where laborers often face long hours in blazing heat without adequate food or water.  Other companies that notoriously use prison labor are Victoria’s Secret, AT&T and BP (British Petrolium). […]

  96. AbletonLive Avatar

    In places like Texas, however, prison work is mandatory and unpaid – the literal definition of slave labor.

    1. Jh Avatar

      Yet the have a roof over their head, 3 meals a day and the other basics. Many outside of prison don’t have those luxuries. Lol maybe if the criminals were busy working and being responsible while they were “free” they wouldn’t of had the time to commit the crimes. They made the choice to be criminals. Period.

  97. Recuva Avatar

    In this new era of prison industry, the criminal “justice” system, the state determined the size of the worker pool. Scores of recently freed slaves and their descendants now labored to generate revenue for the state under a Jim Crow regime.

  98. Kladr Avatar

    In this new era of prison industry, the criminal “justice” system, the state determined the size of the worker pool. Scores of recently freed slaves and their descendants now labored to generate revenue for the state under a Jim Crow regime.

  99. simon sputnik Avatar
    simon sputnik

    sitting around doing nothing all day does not help those inmates. Working with soil and gardens have always helped humans. Seeing something worthwhile produced through work is satisfying.

  100. … [Trackback]

    […] Read More Infos here: […]

  101. David Koch Avatar
    David Koch

    I can’t vouch for most of these companies, but I do know that Koch Industries is an upstanding company that would never engage in such underhanded, dirty economic practices.

    1. Debra Avatar


  102. George Avatar

    Let’s start taxing these companies more for using slavery

  103. Megan Avatar

    Honestly this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve read on the internet lately. Since when is labor considered slavery? No wonder we’re such a lazy society. It’s called community service. Giving back to pay your debt for breaking the law and using tax payers money to be fed, sheltered and showered every day, while your serving your sentence. Get real lady.

  104. Theresa Avatar

    All those saying that this is an opportunity for extra privileges wouldn’t be saying this if these prisoners were their family members. These systems are insidious so before you get the reality it’s happening.

  105. David Z Avatar

    Chrysler isn’t actually a user of prison labor as far as I can tell. They were in a Buycott list which appears to be the source of this story, but that’s based on an article where Chrysler wasn’t actually accused of using prison labor. They were just listed as ALEC members along with other automakers.

  106. opalwolf Avatar

    and the taxpayers still pay between $ 42K- to over $ 72K every year to house an inmate and they may even more for empty beds. it was cheaper when the states ran their own prisons. thanks GOP.

  107. 8eh Avatar


    white supremacy = white nationalism?

    the war on drugs = the war on original people?

    Please give the correct answer to these questions

  108. 8eh Avatar

    “Back in 1555 when millions of black people were brought to America via the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, white slave masters organized the first Slave Patrols to maintain order, enforce law and protect their plantations. These Slave Patrols in the South and Night Watchmen in the North evolved into police forces by the 1800s. The city of Boston is credited with organizing the first formal police force in 1830; a generation before slavery legally ended and slavery by another name began as a prison industrial complex via a ratified 13th Amendment”

  109. 8eh Avatar

    “The first and most important thing to understand about law enforcement is that it was never created to protect and serve black people or any people of color. In fact, law enforcement was created to maintain order, enforce law and protect the property of those who established it.”

  110. 8eh Avatar

    “Again, these slave patrols, night watchmen and police forces were created to maintain the social order, enforce the laws and protect the property of the ruling class, which were not black and other people of color. The only difference in this power dynamic today is the militarization of these police forces across America. If there is any truth to the law enforcement adage “Protect & Serve”, it clearly has not historically applied to black people. This is the reason many people have and are advocating fundamental reforms in law enforcement and the criminal justice system; it was never created by or for the benefit of black people or any people of color in the first place. Since America’s 1776 inception, its Founding Fathers formed a republic governed with politicians who forged policies that were protected by slave patrols and eventually the police. This begs the question that many of us continue to ask: How can we expect to get justice from an unjust system? “

  111. Dana Avatar

    For every criminal incarcerated in America there are forty or forty that should be incarcerated. All of these people owe a debt to their victims and to society. They should be forced to labor, but unfortunately they are not; this is all voluntary. And they are thankful these corporations are so amenable to the use of their labor.

  112. Ian ng Avatar
    Ian ng

    The definition of slavery is forcing someone to work for free. So by definition it is slavery. It is absolutely slavery when they are selling your labor to a company and not compensating the people working. Especially when a large percentage of people in prison are for drug convictions, which they should get help for not prison and definitely not enslavement. Add to that, that blacks and Hispanics are disproportionally stopped by police, if you stopped the same percentage of whites as blacks there would be just as high percentage of whites in prison. They should get paid minimum wage, maybe minus some REASONABLE amount of room and board.

    This also takes tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of jobs from free Americans who haven’t committed any crime and have bills and families. Essentially punishing the working class, non criminal citizens if this country who need jobs. This would stimulate the economy. While the goods produced by prison slaves would go up in cost, more citizens would be employed, therefore having more money to spend on goods. Also decreasing the amount of tax payer money that goes to ‘supporting and helping’ the unemployed that get Medicaid, welfare, government housing, etc. That the same people who imprison and take those jobs away bitch and complain about supporting.

    The whole idea of it but as a whole is complete bullshit. Completely immoral and unfair to those doing slave labor, those out of work who need jobs and every tax payer in this country.

    Any prison that makes profit is and will support biased and incarceration of people whether they are guilty or not because they are rich businessmen seeing dollar signs and running multi million dollar businesses.

  113. Craig Whitney Avatar
    Craig Whitney

    Slave labor through the penal code has a long history in America. Perhaps it might be helpful to read “Slavery By Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II” by Douglas A. Blackmon, available at Amazon, here –
    Here’s a blurb from Amazon:
    In this groundbreaking historical expose, Douglas A. Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history—an “Age of Neoslavery” that thrived from the aftermath of the Civil War through the dawn of World War II.Using a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Douglas A. Blackmon unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude shortly thereafter. By turns moving, sobering, and shocking, this unprecedented account reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the companies that profited most from neoslavery, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.

    This isn’t a new story, it’s an old and ugly one, and it continues, today.

  114. Mike Rogers Avatar
    Mike Rogers

    …if you do not have the intellectual reach to understand the danger this poses to civil society or seek to justify what is being done with our penal system, you honestly have no reason to participate in the public discourse. You’re merely parroting the Establishment view and are redundant re: this subject…

  115. […] We’ve been bulldozed out of our Morality by words on paper, buttons, badges and bullshit and it’s time to wake up. This Sept 9th, prisoners across the not so united states are calling for a strike, and I support them. Our judicial system is beyond reprehensible and it’s time for a change. I am for getting the non criminals out of jail, and putting the real criminals behind bars. Here is a list of corporations using prison labor., […]

  116. Burnett Avatar

    #1 Way to end Mass Incarceration

    By: Dennis Burnett

    The enclosed story comes as advocacy for Criminal Justice Reform. Specifically, the Indictment and Grand Jury process, the process that initiates prosecutions and inevitably leads to mass incarceration. A process hidden in secrecy, which government prosecutors have complete Carte Blanche. Prosecutors power over the Grand Jury ensures that anyone, virtually anywhere, for any reason, can become a target of an indictment. Many lawyers, judges, and scholars have expressed skepticism concerning the prosecutors power over the Grand Jury.

    A Chief Judge (Judge Sol Wachtler) once publicly stated a Grand Jury would indict a “Ham Sandwich” if asked to do so by the prosecutor.

    The Grand Jury goes unchecked by any governmental agency and there is no judge in place to monitor the Grand Jury proceeding. Defense attorneys are not allowed in the Grand Jury room and transcripts are rarely made available to defendants. A defendant has limited ability to challenge or inquire into the propriety of a Grand Jury determinations, even if that determination is based on incompetent, irrelevant, or unconstitutionally obtained evidence. Prosecutors are under no legal duty to present evidence in their possession to the Grand Jury which negates guilt or probable cause.

    The Grand Jury was originally designed as a fair method for instituting criminal charges and to serve as a protector of the people against unfounded criminal prosecutions, a defense against arbitrary and oppressive Government action. Today, this is no longer the case. Prosecutors now use the Grand Jury as a pawn in a technical game to indict, overcharge, and convict. Today’s Federal Grand Juries fail to provide any resistance to the government, and serve as a machine of mass incarceration, government expansion, and caprice. Instead of obstructing and opposing the over-reach of government prosecutors, the secrecy of the Grand Jury provide prosecutors with their cover for misconduct and perjury on a massive scale, and a means to abuse, threaten, and intimidate the American people. Prosecutors now effectively use the Grand Jury as a arm of the prosecution, a social and political weapon, a weapon of mass destruction.

    How can a Grand Jury perform its mission, to clear the innocent and protect the American people against arbitrary and oppressive government action when a prosecutor has no legal duty to present exculpatory evidence i their possession to the Grand Jury? With no system in place to monitor prosecutors, how can the Grand Jury proceeding be considered fair? Prosecutors employ tactics of fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, overcharging, bribery, and terror to obtain indictments and seek convictions. Stopping the growth of the industrial complex and mass incarceration has to start at the root of the problem, not the result. The Grand Jury process needs to be reformed and protections need to be added to limit prosecutor’s power and abuse over the Grand Jury, and to hold them accountable for their actions.

    This letter and story is about exposing the corruption of the Grand Jury to the public and ending mass incarceration. Reforming the Grand Jury will protect the innocent, reduce wrongful convictions, deter overcharging and over-sentencing, and dramatically help end mass incarceration. If a statistical analysis and an investigation into the Grand Jury’s practice and procedures were to take place, Grand Jury Reform would be inevitable.

  117. Lisa Lyrics Avatar
    Lisa Lyrics

    Wow, I’ve read messages on this post that clearly show how out of touch people are with what’s really going on. The criminal justice system is seriously flawed and has turned into a profit making scheme. Remember the judge that was “selling kids” to the system for kickbacks?? And if you think he’s the ONLY one…. think again. So far, he’s the ONLY one that got caught and probably because he pissed somebody off. I’m willing to bet that MORE people were in on that little plan. He just happened to be the sacrificial lamb. These corporate billionaires and our so called political leaders have struck a deal in this thing: Stiffen the crime laws (broaden the definition of crime), arrest more people (especially black and brown), get them early (juvenile, 18-19-21, etc), stiffer sentencing (10-15-20-LIFE) and make more $$$, essentially free labor, and NO UNIONS! hmmmm???! sounds like a plan to me! smh

  118. Lew Newman Avatar

    The Soviet Union and China killed over 130M of its citizens in over 69 years and 70 years. A lot of these were by force labor in the gulags and re-education camps.

    Some cultures have strict group norming policies, simply comply or die. Think of the Queen of Hearts in Alice, “Off with her head.”

    I would like to see the wages paid to prisoners increased and placed in savings accounts for them. For those getting out I would like to see financial education.

    I’m not keen on prisoners competing with civilians in making products for an open market. That’s not free market. Giving inmates jobs is a worthwhile thing. Abusing this resource is not. I have to admit to getting a kick our of some of Sherriff Arpaio’s policies. I like the pink jumpsuits and tents. It is after all prison.

  119. […] the problems of mass incarceration, exploitation of prison labor, and profiteering from the prison system will not be stopped with the closure of private prisons. […]

  120. […] the problems of mass incarceration, exploitation of prison labor, and profiteering from the prison system will not be stopped with the closure of private prisons. […]

  121. […] the problems of mass incarceration, exploitation of prison labor, and profiteering from the prison system will not be stopped with the closure of private prisons. […]

  122. […] the problems of mass incarceration, exploitation of prison labor, and profiteering from the prison system will not be stopped with the closure of private prisons. […]

  123. […] the problems of mass incarceration, exploitation of prison labor, and profiteering from the prison system will not be stopped with the closure of private prisons. […]

  124. […] the problems of mass incarceration, exploitation of prison labor, and profiteering from the prison system will not be stopped with the closure of private prisons. […]

  125. […] the problems of mass incarceration, exploitation of prison labor, and profiteering from the prison system will not be stopped with the closure of private prisons. […]

  126. MicFuckyou Avatar

    Here is the problem that you all have. You seem to think that this is okay. No matter what you want to call it, punishment for crimes committed or repayment to society, it is still SLAVE labor. None of you have any idea what you are talking about and probably never been in more trouble than a parking ticket or speeding. Nor I know a person that’s been locked up isn’t shit. Be forced to wake up not be paid for labor or workman’s comp because your injured. Can’t pay court fees, lawyer fees, restitution because your repaying your debt to society. Then get out of prison with what ever you happen to own and try to get a job with all this experience and no rate of pay because the entire 13th amendment wasn’t abolished.

    Now ask all you n.i.m.b.y.’s of yourself this. Would you want to get paid for the work you do no matter where you were no matter the condition?


  127. Pjf Avatar

    Want to do the crime?
    Then do the time.

  128. […] How Prison Labor is the New American … – If you buy products or services from any of the 50 companies listed below (and you likely do), you are supporting modern American slavery American slavery was … […]

  129. prisonlaborshouldbemandated Avatar

    This is not slavery because the american tax payer is footing the bill for paying for their food/clothing/electricity/workout facilities…etc. How about the prinsoner’s start paying the american public back for having to pay for them!

    1. SortingHat Avatar

      Or so we are told it comes from our taxes. Our taxes are actually artificially kept low despite being raised because interest rates are kept artificially low to keep the illusion of the economy going.

      The Ivory Tower bricks are coming apart one by one and people at the top ARE noticing which big corporations are making weird decisions lately.

  130. […] 8.) If people have the temerity not to quietly slink off into a corner and die, make sure you have plenty of security forces to cart them off to jail if they get uppity. The people in Americas vast carceral system, the world’s largest by far, become official non-persons. They are not counted as unemployed and they have no constitutional rights -slavery is 100% legal if convicted of a crime. Many prisoners work for pennies for the largest corporation in the world. […]

  131. Phyllia Avatar

    What happens in slave economies is that it creates a layer of poverty for people who are not incarcerated because those jobs are not available to the non-incarcerated. And it impacts the ability for the US middle class to grow. A job that would pay $30.00 an hour pays $00.50 hr for prisoners. The corporations charges the most they can get for the product while many Americans can’t afford to buy them due to low paying jobs. Taxpayers still have to pay for the prisoners to be incarcerated and prison systems make money on their cheap labor source. They are double-dipping monies from that system. Our economy suffers when jobs are sent over seas and when our jobs are sent to prisons. Unicor and other prison labor industries trade on Wall St. but only those in law enforcement are allowed to purchase stock. Slavery and slave wages hurt us, our economy and our perceived financial strengths in global markets. If China decided it was only going to do business in gold backed currencies,our currency would fail and we’d be a 3rd world country over night.

    1. SortingHat Avatar


  132. […] How Prison Labor is the New American Slavery and Most of Us Unknowingly Support it […]

  133. […] the problems of mass incarceration, exploitation of prison labor, and profiteering from the prison system will not be stopped with the closure of private prisons. […]

  134. SortingHat Avatar

    But but you must be a BIGOT and a RACIST to say such things! The only bad people are the right wing Christian nut jobs! Puffington Post says so! CNN demands so!

  135. Kensky Avatar

    Actually continuing in the vain of this unjust prison system, the half way houses sound even worse than the prisons and the majority, with no help or job are trapped in these half way houses to work at menial jobs in exhange for a few hours with their family. Most end up re-offending with no ability to reintegrate. See video:

    On this week’s episode of On Contact, Chris Hedges discusses the business of privately-run halfway houses with civil rights attorney Stanley Cohen. After 11-months in prison for a federal tax violation, Cohen spent three months in a New York halfway house operated by the GEO Group. He reflects on what he calls the “vile” conditions and profit-driven approach at such facilities.

  136. jsrich Avatar

    The legal system is thoroughly corrupt. You are accused of shooting someone accidentally, whether you did it or not. You will be charged with five or six different crimes, including silly things like discharging a weapon within city limits and noise pollution above 100 decibels. This gives the D.A. the upper hand, now he has bargaining power. He would offer something rather simple, “plead guilty to one and I will eliminate the rest” sort-of plea bargaining. Your attorney will encourage you to accept the plea or you might be in jail for the next 20 years. What can you do? Even if you didn’t do it the fear of going to jail away from your family is very real, so you simply accept it.

  137. ro santiesteban Avatar
    ro santiesteban

    Would we be so upset if they ere paid fair market wages? Maybe this is the answer. They can help support families they leave behind or work towards money they will need for housing and utilities when they are released. That might cut down recicidivism if they have both a skill and money til they get on their feet.

  138. S Cosby Avatar
    S Cosby

    This is a good practice all the way around. First of all remember that the person who is in prison is there because of his/her choice to do a crime. CHOICE. It doesn’t matter what color they are. The labor they do should make them feel good about themselves and make their time pass faster plus it may teach them a “trade” for when they are released. It gets them away from their cell/dorm and allows them to make a little money. They don’t need a lot of money in prison – all their needs are met at the prison. The slaves did nothing – made no choice – to become a slave. This is not slavery.

  139. L.B. Avatar

    What is worrisome to me, is that we have 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the incarcerated. And with the drug sentencing in our courts nationwide, putting heavy penalties on drugs most often found in black neighborhoods, and less harsh sentencing for drugs found in white neighborhoods. And what about stop and frisk, most used in neighborhoods of the poor who are usually people of color, and this produces more prisoners for this population. So yeah, a form of slavery like what the Southern States did after the Civil War. Arrested black people in large number and leased them for labor, i.e. slavery.

  140. […] ignorant of the fact that the prison system as it operates in the United States of America is an ongoing form of slavery. And with Black people being incarcerated at 6 times the rate of white people, it is clear who is […]

  141. rene anderson Avatar
    rene anderson

    I was planning to go to Costco, but not after I read they are abusing the prisoners and the American people. This is a crime ! I am vegan, do not buy Proctor and Gamble products and never go to Starbucks because they’re too damn expensive or Walmart because Walmart pays their employees so little they are forced to go on food stamps and tax-payers are paying for walmart’s employees’ food stamps. Thank you for this excellent article on the horrendous corruption of America. Everyone should boycott all the companies on this list ! America is a horrible place to live, we’re being stolen from in the most undermining ways.

    1. MitchH Avatar

      Our justice system is not flawed. Prisoners deserve to pay for their actions. If you think America is a horrible place to live, I’d like to invite you to live in ANY country you can think of that is greater than the USA. I guarantee there is no better country in the world.

      1. ross martin Avatar
        ross martin

        There is lots of countries better than the USA to live. You should get a passport and go travel to one to see it for yourself

  142. […] How Prison Labor is the New American Slavery and Most of Us Unknowingly Support it Reply With Quote […]

  143. […] companies who use prison labor, starving them of cheap labor that (1) deprives not-incarcerated workers of living wages and (2) […]

  144. […] think this is the only feasable way for him to do it: How Prison Labor is the New American Slavery and Most of Us Unknowingly Support it Reply With Quote   […]

  145. […] which the both the corporation and governments unabashedly utilize as the latest form of slave labor to make […]

  146. […] Wal-Mart is one company guilty of using prison labor.  They purchase their produce from prison farms, where laborers often face long hours in blazing heat without adequate food or water.  Other companies that notoriously use prison labor are Victoria’s Secret, AT&T and BP (British Petrolium). […]

  147. Jh Avatar

    Regardless of color, race or type of conviction, they should be working their asses off! Why should they get a free and easy ride…especially after committing a crime? Those of us that are law abiding don’t get a free and easy ride! Many of us bust our asses everyday to provide the basics for our families and continually struggle to survive and keep a roof over the heads of our children….some working 2+ jobs, women working construction, and doing what HAS to be done because there’s no assistance for us. Sorry but I can’t feel sorry for these inmates, they chose to break the law and many times are repeat offenders despite their race, maybe if they had spent more time busting their asses working like the rest of us, they wouldn’t of had time to commit crimes or get into drugs. They made they’re choices and I bet the so called “slave labor” of earning their way one way or another while in prison will make them think twice before committing another crime. I would certainly expect to work and would WANT to if I was in prison….I couldn’t imagine sitting in there with nothing to do and no responsibility every day for years. Not all of us have a guaranteed roof over our heads, meals or other basics. They’re no more entitled than the rest of us.

  148. […] Inside the U.S prison system […]

  149. linda Avatar

    from me its ok for the goverment profit,, here in ph just the goverment shoulder the expenses of in the jail,,, i hpoe it must adopt it here in ph

  150. Arlen Avatar

    Why should being in prison be a ticket for free room and board, albeit with limited choices of entertainment? Why should we all foot the bill?

  151. Michelle Avatar

    But they are also given free meals, free healthcare, cable TV, access to free education if they want it or need it, and more all at taxpayer expense. And some of these jobs equip them with new skills they can later use if and when they are released.

    I do think prisons are overcrowded, especially with drug-related crimes, and think those laws need to change. However, when you look at how much it costs to keep each prisoner incarcerated I don’t think expecting them to work as part of their punishment is all this author purports it to be. And I would never compare it to slavery or even sweatshop conditions.

    1. Peppi Davidson Avatar
      Peppi Davidson

      Evidently you are uninformed about prison labor, and prison in general. You make it sound like they live a normal life, like any other person outside of prison. Research more and think about what prisons are really like, and what kind of rehabilitation is really offered. Prison practices differ from state to state, and most of them are just plain awful, and fife with corruption and abuse. Start with “The Kalief Browder Story”, and go from there.

  152. Anonymous Staff Avatar
    Anonymous Staff

    The author might want to do a little more fact-checking when it comes to Arizona. First, we do not have “prison farms”. There are private farms where inmates are allowed to work and make much higher wages than any job inside the prison. No inmate is forced to work there. They choose to, if they qualify, because of those higher wages. Second, have you seen what they can, and do, order from those store lists? I’m sorry if you feel they are deprived and have to resort to ordering and paying for sodas and junk food from the store. Third, if you have an issue with it in any state, you need to get with your governor and state legislators because they are the ones who set up these contracts for prison labor and allow it.

  153. Janet Avatar

    Ok. Read all the comments and saw different points of view. We pay taxes to house inmates. They make little money from big corporations, how much are those big corporations giving to the state or federal governments? For the labor?
    Why are they not put to work and make money that goes back into the housing? They should also not have them working for the big corporations but for society so we can pay less taxes on fixing road systems, fixing up facilities for the elderly, orphans, homeless.
    A little put aside for families so that their family doesn’t have to rely only on welfare. Which means more taxes for those outside of jail. Is the educational services provided for inmates worth it? If companies won’t hire many of them because of their priors? How many are able to find jobs after they leave the system?
    I don’t think they should have a free pass, those with serious convictions, but I also think that the labor they do shouldn’t be for big companies who already make billions in a year.
    If they are made to work, regular wages like those outside the system depending on the job. Except a high percentage goes to their housing, while some is put aside for families on the outside and a little in a savings so they don’t just end up back in jail because they can’t find work outside of prison and steal to survive and end up back inside.
    If the tax money is used so that the labor is used so we can have less taxes in other areas, wouldn’t that benefit every American paying for taxes?
    They should consider making jails more efficient, find ways to lower the cost of running them. I know they have lights off during certain hours. But they should also provide warmer blankets and lower the heat so they save on oil. Have inmates put to work to make solar, or other types of electricity generating components so state or federal government doesn’t have such a high cost of taking care of inmates.
    Make green houses, have inmates farm and grow crops that are used either to feed all of them or to sell that goes back into the cost of the housing. I kind of feel like there could be so many other ways of cost cutting that would benefit taxpayers and prisoners. Just some thoughts. I’m most likely going to mull things over more or do more research into how prisons are run.

  154. Ann Laughlin Avatar
    Ann Laughlin

    Most white people, and I am a white person, do not care if people of color are exploited and imprisoned. They think “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire” which is an uninformed and self-centered stupidity. Until we wake up and realize it will take us all to STOP FASCISM. We will all be in chains!

  155. […] Originally Posted by civil_servant Why not have labour camps and make a profit? products made in labour camps or by prisoners is another touchy subject with too many issues/objection.Made In China — But Was It Made In A Prison? : Parallels : NPRHow Prison Labor is the New American Slavery and Most of Us Unknowingly Support it […]

  156. […] I missed a few issues of the weekly action checklist, but I started following it again and I’ve found it helps me stay focused and it also gives me ideas for issues I want to look into locally. Like, how many people have been wrongfully convicted in Indiana? What are we doing to fight against mass incarceration? Which companies use prison labor to make their products? (Hint: more than you might think.) […]

  157. […] We glorify the Civil War for ending slavery, but the truth is, it didn’t end slavery. The larger culture turned a blind eye to the post-Civil War criminal justice system that continued to enslave black men. Tragically, our culture continues to turn a blind eye to the mass incarceration of black bodies that remains a racist tool of forced labor. […]

  158. L Garou Avatar
    L Garou

    I can hear the neo-press gangs drumming.
    Their drums sound just like police sirens..

  159. Kathleen Hacker Avatar

    Unless it happens to u or someone in your family people don’t care.not everyone who is in prison is guilty. It is slavery when you are forced and not paid.why is main stream media not all over this story?

  160. […] prison labour. The effort of Black Americans yields income for a party who is not obliged to pay them the legal […]

  161. […] combined with job skills they learn gives them a much greater chance to break the crime/jail cycle.How Prison Labor is the New American Slavery and Most of Us Unknowingly Support it The counterpoint to that is that it looks like working isn't really optional – just whether you […]

  162. ross martin Avatar
    ross martin

    To have a prison population that is far higher than countries traditionally associated with human rights violations is a shameful practice.
    To use prison labor to undercut legitimate businesses breaches is an attack on workers and a breach of the UN convention on prisoner’s rights
    To have fellow Americans saying they support the prison corporations is disgraceful . I can only hope you end up there so you can tell us from the inside how good it is.

  163. Joan Kelly Avatar
    Joan Kelly

    While I think that giving prisoners a chance to learn a new skill, or a chance to get out of their cell, temporarily, is a good thing, I do not condone that it be slave labor. They should not be forced to work; no work, no pay. Also, I resent, if it’s true, that dark skinned people should be targeted. There is too much racism, in the world, and our governments should not be allowed to continue it.

  164. […] How Prison Labor is the New American Slavery and Most of Us Unknowingly Support it By Sara Burrows Posted June 24, […]

  165. Surly Curmudgen Avatar
    Surly Curmudgen

    All those nonviolent should get an ankle bracelet and be sent home to provide their own board and room. They can pay for the privilege of not being in prison and be monitored by satellite. This would be vastly cheaper than the current system which provides continuing education on advanced criminality.

  166. Suzette Avatar

    What’s up it’s me, I am also visiting this site daily, this website
    is actually good annd the visitors aree actually sharing nice thoughts.

  167. Troy Art Avatar
    Troy Art

    Spend less time patting yourselves on the ass with your opinions,(whether right or wrong) and address fact. We all are insipid sheep that has been bamboozled by the world bank etc to believe this is acceptable. Wake up you idiots, stop running your mouths here and get involved locally, and opinionate yourself to the higher ups. You will get a form letter, then ignored but it beats wasting time here, and you’ll feel like you have contributed, ha! Can’t cure stupid you fools..

  168. Chasmodai Avatar

    I think that people who did crimes should receive a fair trial and do their time if convicted, but corporations should not profit off of prison labor. I don’t think that convicts should have a whole lot of disposable income, but perhaps they can be paid a fair wage and the extra revenue could go into a legal defense for the poor, or to fund programs that help reduce recidivism. The goal should be to reduce the prison populations and make more prisons redundant, not increase the profitability of the prison industrial complex. Their labor should go to help society, since their crimes were against society.

  169. Whitney Avatar

    Whether there is an unfair bias in the system to incarcerate and sentence people of color over white people is, to me, a different issue than whether it is fair to having convicted prisoners work for low/no pay.

    Why shouldn’t convicted criminals have to spend their days working? So what if they have to get up early and be at work by 6:00. Many people do. This article didn’t indicate that they are refused water or not properly fed or given break. And while it says what time the work day begins, it also does not indicate when it ends, which suggests that perhaps they do not work unreasonable hours.

    What would the author of this article prefer? That these people who were convicted of crimes not have to work? Or does she want them to be offered minimum wage? I’m just confused about what we are supposed to think.

  170. it seems to me... Avatar
    it seems to me…

    At the heart if it all, we’re not operating from the original organic constitution for [the people] of the united states of America – the land area; rather, it was switched with a similar but specious second corporate constitution that was devised with a name-only creation, that is, “United States” [corp.], which is actually designated for the Washington, DC area alone, and that makes it a separate entity like a foreign country or state. Misleading word play is in its 14th Amendment:”…subject to the jurisdiction thereof (read: adhesion contract to many laws or corporate statutes), are citizens (read: not a sovereign person) of the United States (read: “for profit” corporation) and of the State (read: corporate franchise) wherein they reside.” Don’t expect to learn this directly in a State “Accredited” school…that would shatter the indoctrination game. See Blacks Law Dictionary (earlier editions preferred) and Uniform Commercial Code. Much more to all this…

  171. Rosie Powell Avatar
    Rosie Powell

    Convict labor . . . or the “new” American slavery has been around since the post-Civil War era. Probably even before the war. That is why penal labor had been excluded from the 13th Amendment. And that is why it has been very important for the various criminal law systems to arrest, prosecute and convict as many people as possible, regardless of whether they were innocent or not.

  172. Jamie Avatar

    Great article and it illustrates that the two big business parties love slave labor. Their differences are only bread and circus for the masses as they are divided and conquered.

  173. Dana L Silkiss Avatar
    Dana L Silkiss

    Many of the above replies are very unaware of our American reality and very very naive as to how these entities operate. Read my book, “Midnite’s Journey” (Amazon/Kindle) which takes place in the mid-seventies. Maybe it will open many eyes as to how these labor camps operate as well as the motivations behind them.

  174. DEMI GOD Avatar

    Slave labor of prisoners is being being deliberately perpetuated by corrupt govts. in brutal violation of Human Rights, as well as ruling establishments for their illegal capitalization from slavery and genocide. One can also blame sadistic jail guards with twisted agenda to satisfy their unhealthy desire to see pain and agony in the eyes of defenceless hostages of incarceration industry and gulag economy, who are eternal victims of completely corrupt and criminal judicial system.

  175. DEMIGOD Avatar

    Your book undoubtedly will be able to will open many eyes as to how the American slave labor camps operate and what are the real motivations behind them, but it doesn’t help to disseminate the Human Rights among US citizens and around the world, in order for people to become aware of their individual freedoms and to realize that their rights have been brutally violated, in order for people to be motivated to do something about restoration of their own rights and to prevent violation of other people’s rights.

    1. DEMIGOD Avatar

      Thank you for your mederation, because I really need it

  176. Thomas Avatar

    Great post! Have nice day ! 🙂 mnesg

  177. Thomas Avatar

    Great post! Have nice day ! 🙂 yeios

  178. Violet Avatar

    I had a spell cast by someone called *Dr. Todd*, before I found you other spell casters were very nasty to me. I was worried that maybe they did something to make my situation worse. Dr.Todd, you broke and cleansed those bad spells and put things right with the binding love spell. I don’t know where I’d be without the spell casting services you render, (manifestspellcast@gmail. com OR manifestspellcast@yahoo. com)

    Thank you so much!

  179. FirstMaurice Avatar

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  180. Avatar

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  181. iva Avatar

    AS the old saying go, the more these change the more they stay the same. This is an example that slavery did not end in America. It just has a new name.

  182. Shelba Leaver Avatar
    Shelba Leaver

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  183. Hendrick Avatar

    Spanish speakers refer to the US as “esclavos unidos” (united slaves) instead of Estados Unidos. However, nothing will change here. The population generally is far too dumbed down [] and cowed. The generalized loss of nerve and cowardice of Americans was noted years ago by Solzhenitzyn in his famous Harvard commencement speech.

    “Numbness or apathy. These seem to be Americans’ go-to responses…Does it even matter? Americans will simply yawn.”
    –Maj. Danny Sjursen