Can anyone on the right explain to me how this is good for America?
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.
Prisoners, whose ranks increasingly consist of those for whom the legitimate economy has found no use, now make up a virtual brigade within the reserve army of the unemployed whose ranks have ballooned along with the U.S. incarceration rate. The Corrections Corporation of America and G4S (formerly Wackenhut), two prison privatizers, sell inmate labor at subminimum wages to Fortune 500 corporations like Chevron, Bank of America, AT&T, and IBM.
These companies can, in most states, lease factories in prisons or prisoners to work on the outside. All told, nearly a million prisoners are now making office furniture, working in call centers, fabricating body armor, taking hotel reservations, working in slaughterhouses, or manufacturing textiles, shoes, and clothing, while getting paid somewhere between 93 cents and $4.73 per day.
Just last month, DetroitPolitico reported on a $1.8 billion dollar corporate tax break that will provide 43,000 employment opportunities in Michigan, for prisoners.
As it turns out, a Michigan resident has a better chance of finding employment if incarcerated than they do through traditional means. Knocking off a liquor store will land them guaranteed full-time employment faster than any advanced degree.
Michigan lawmakers are rushing to privatize their prisons so they may be managed by for-profit corporations who view the 43,000 inmates currently incarcerated as a golden money-making opportunity — not in terms of turning an easy taxpayer buck off of running the facility itself — no, that’s just the goose. The golden egg is “employing” the prisoners in a for-profit scheme under the provisions found in the Prison Industries Enhancement Certification Program, (PIECP, or ”PIE” for short, but it’s not a sweet pie).
Can this be the one issue that the left and right can agree on, that this hurts hard-working Americans?