Prison labor is the new American slavery; here’s how you are supporting it
Though slavery was supposedly made illegal in 1865, it has continued in the form of a legal cluster-fuck. Because of a loophole in the 13th Amendment, slavery has been allowed to continue “as a punishment for crimes” and the prison industry has taken full advantage of this.
Corporations have lobbied to change the definition of what constitutes a “crime” and, therefore, what constitutes hard labor.
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).
The full list of companies implicated in exploiting prison labor includes:
- ConAgra Foods
- Procter & Gamble
- Eli Lilly and Company
- Bank of America
- John Deere
- Exxon Mobil
- Johnson and Johnson
- Koch Industries
In Texas, prison work is mandatory. Inmates are up at 3:30, eat breakfast at 4:30 and begin work at 6am. “Offenders are not paid for their work, but they can earn privileges as a result of good work habits,” says the Texas Department of Criminal Justice website. “No, Texas does not use chain gangs,” continues a statement from the website. “However, offenders working outside the perimeter fence are supervised by armed correctional officers on horseback.”
With a for-profit prison industry, we seriously need to re-evaluate the method that we use to seek out labor. Using people like this; now that we know it is happening we can change it.