Sunday, November 25, 2012

21st century chain gangs - Salon.com

21st century chain gangs - Salon.com

Sweatshop labor is back with a vengeance. It can be found across broad stretches of the American economy and around the world.  Penitentiaries have become a niche market for such work.  The privatization of prisons in recent years has meant the creation of a small army of workers too coerced and right-less to complain.

Good article on prison labor. Not a new invention, but as for-profit prisons look for greater shareholder returns, selling off their 'work force' should look better and better to them. And as our capitalist-owners look to increase their share of profits while paying less to the actual workers, this has got to seem a wonderful bargain. No worries about strikes or attempts to unionize. If the workers refuse to work, it's off to solitary, or worse.

More on prisons here, from CNBC.
From some of the poorest towns in America to some of the wealthiest investment firms on Wall Street, CNBC’s Scott Cohn travels the country to go inside the big and controversial business of prisons. We go inside private prisons and examine an Idaho facility nicknamed the “gladiator school” by inmates and former prison employees for its level of violence. We look at one of the fastest growing sectors of the industry, immigration detention, and tell the story of what happens when a hard hit town in Montana accepts an enticing sales pitch from private prison developers. In Colorado, we profile a little-known but profitable workforce behind bars, and discover that products created by prison labor have seeped into our everyday lives — even some of the food we eat. We also meet a tough-talking judge in the law-and-order state of Texas who’s actually trying to keep felons out of prison and save taxpayer money, through an innovative and apparently successful program.

Welcome to the United States of America Prisons. One area in which we really are #1 in the world. We put more of our people in prison than almost every other country in the world.

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