Prison Labor Exposed: From Starbucks to Microsoft - A sampling of what US prisoners make & for whom
May 21, 2013
Tens of thousands of US inmates are paid from pennies to minimum wage—minus fines and victim compensation—for everything from grunt work to firefighting to specialized labor.
The breaded chicken patty your child bites into at school may have been made by a worker earning twenty cents an hour, not in a faraway country, but by a member of an invisible American workforce: prisoners. At the UnionCorrectional Facility, a maximum security prison in Florida, inmates from a nearby lower-security prison manufacture tons of processed beef, chicken and pork for Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises (PRIDE), a privately held non-profit corporation that operates the state’s forty-one work programs. In addition to processed food, PRIDE’s website reveals an array of products for sale through contracts with private companies, from eyeglasses to office furniture, to be shipped from a distribution center in Florida to businesses across the US. PRIDE boasts that its work programs are “designed to provide vocational training, to improve prison security, to reduce the cost of state government, and to promote the rehabilitation of the state inmates.”
And Each month, California inmates process more than 680,000 pounds of beef, 400,000 pounds of chicken products, 450,000 gallons of milk, 280,000 loaves of bread, and 2.9 million eggs (from 160,000 inmate-raised hens).Starbucks subcontractor Signature Packaging Solutions has hired Washington prisoners to package holiday coffees (as well as Nintendo Game Boys). Confronted by a reporter in 2001, a Starbucks rep called the setup “entirely consistent with our mission statement.”
Texas inmates produce brooms and brushes, bedding and mattresses, toilets, sinks, showers, and bullwhips.
In Texas, prisoners make officers’ duty belts, handcuff cases, and prison-cell accessories. California convicts make gun containers, creepers (to peek under vehicles), and human-silhouette targets.
A stitch in time: California inmates sew their own garb. In the 1990s, subcontractor Third Generation hired 35 female South Carolina inmates to sew lingerie and leisure wear for Victoria’s Secret and JCPenney. In 1997, a California prison put two men in solitary for telling journalists they were ordered to replace “Made in Honduras” labels on garments with “Made in the usa.”
Open wide: At California’s prison dental laboratory, inmates produce a complete prosthesis selection, including custom trays, try-ins, bite blocks, and dentures.
Constructive criticism: Prisoners in for burglary, battery, drug and gun charges, and escape helped build a Wal-Mart distribution center in Wisconsin in 2005, until community uproar halted the program. (Company policy says, “Forced or prison labor will not be tolerated by Wal-Mart.”)
On call: Its inmate call centers are the “best kept secret in outsourcing,” Unicor boasts. In 1994, a contractor for GOP congressional hopeful Jack Metcalf hired Washington state prisoners to call and remind voters he was pro-death penalty. Metcalf, who prevailed, said he never knew.
Federal Prison Industries, a.k.a. Unicor, says that in addition to soldiers’ uniforms, bedding, shoes, helmets, and flak vests, inmates have “produced missile cables (including those used on the Patriot missiles during the Gulf War)” and “wiring harnesses for jets and tanks.” In 1997, according to Prison Legal News, Boeing subcontractor MicroJet had prisoners cutting airplane components, paying $7 an hour for work that paid union wages of $30 on the outside.
THE WAR ON DRUGS
CAN FUCKING BURN FOREVER
FOR FUCKING EVER
Republicans can always be counted on to stand up for big corporations.
|—||The Virginia GOP’s nominee for attorney general says his bill to criminalize unreported miscarriages was a big misunderstanding—it was just a poorly written law. So, you know, it’s a good thing he wants to be attorney general. (via motherjones)|
Bill Maher gets his hands on some of the unfair questions the IRS asked Tea Party:
When did you first realize that you shouldn’t have to pay taxes:
- Moments after the black guy was elected
- Seconds after the black guy was elected
The Virginia Republican Party this weekend nominated for lieutenant governor a minister who has a history of virulent anti-gay statements, accuses the Democratic Party of enslaving African Americans, and criticized President Obama for having “Muslim sensibilities.” The former Senate candidate ,who in 2012garnered less than 5 percent of the vote in the Republican primary,bested six other candidates during the Virginia GOP convention, and will join conservative Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli on the Republican ticket. He is the first black candidate the state party has endorsed since 1988.
Here are some of the most alarming facts you need to know about E.W. Jackson:
- He has said gays and lesbians are “very sick people, psychologically and emotionally” whose minds are perverted. He has also said homosexuality “poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies”
- He called alleged Democratic Party ties to Planned Parenthood “more lethal to black lives than the KKK ever was” and thinks blacks who join the Democratic Party arevoluntarily selling themselves into slavery.
- He has equated Islam with anti-semitism, and criticized President Obama for having “Muslim sensibilities,”
- He led an “Exodus Now!” movement encouraging African Americans to leave the Democratic party because opposition to same-sex marriage and government endorsement of religion means “Democrats are engaged in a concerted effort to do away with all symbols of our Judeo-Christian culture.”
- He rallied against hate crimes legislation as a “virulent strain of Anti-Christian bigotry and hatred.”
As global capital becomes ever more powerful, giant corporations are holding governments and citizens up for ransom — eliciting subsidies and tax breaks from countries concerned about their nation’s “competitiveness” — while sheltering their profits in the lowest-tax jurisdictions they can find….
You’re doing a GREAT JOB OKIE’S!
Detroit Has a Coke Problem Three Stories High
The Koch Brothers’ Toxic Mountain of Petroleum Coke
The toxic mountain of petroleum coke, or petcoke, is like coal but dirtier, and is being sold by Koch Carbon to fuel the coal plants of countries like China.
Once again, ladies and gentlemen. They never disillusion us by doing something productive for the planet or society…thanks, Koch Bros.
Speaking of the recent spate of tornadoes in Oklahoma, President Obama calls out Climate Change Deniers on twitter
What will they think of next? :)
Our gov’t shouldn’t be making billions of dollars by drowning our students in debt #BankonStudents
GOP Whips Up Scandals to Avoid Facing Obama’s ‘Most Rapid Deficit Reduction since WWII’
SAD THING IS…..too many so called Liberal Media’s & PUNDITS, ended up standing on the side of stupidity taking many other STUPID LEFTIES WITH THEM, AGAIN!
They can not handle it at all that President Obama actually cares about this country and the people and wants to help us and the country.
Here’s a real bitter irony for the GOP. At the same time as their ideology took an ugly beating in the reality department, the man they are determined to destroy has a better record at deficit reduction than any of their recent Presidents. In fact, government spending under President Obama has grown at a slower rate than it did under any president since Dwight D. Eisenhower, according to Bloomberg (that’s over 50 years ago, if you’re counting). Ironically, this fact is due in part to their own obstructionism and President Obama’s endless compromises with them.
“The improvements in this CBO report are yet more evidence that the President’s policies are contributing to the most rapid deficit reduction since World War II.”
TEXAS CONGRESSMAN JOE BARTON June 17, 2010:
Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, the top Republican on the committee, apologized to Hayward for what he described as a “shakedown” at the White House yesterday. He was referring to the deal worked out between the Obama administration and BP to set up a $20 billion fund administered by a third party to pay for damages from the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
“I’m ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday,” Barton said. “I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case, a $20 billion shakedown.”
He complained that “the attorney general of the United States, who is legitimately conducting a criminal investigation and has every right to do so to protect the interests of the American people, [is] participating in what amounts to a $20 billion slush fund that’s unprecedented in our nation’s history, that’s got no legal standing, and which sets, I think, a terrible precedent for the future.”
“I apologize,” Barton told Hayward. “I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure that is — again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize.”
“I’m speaking now totally for myself,” he noted. “I’m not speaking for the Republican Party.” House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) later said he disagreed with Barton’s characterization, and GOP leaders put out a statement calling his comments “wrong.”
Not long after Barton spoke, the White House released a statement calling his comments “shameful.”
“What is shameful is that Joe Barton seems to have more concern for big corporations that caused this disaster than the fishermen, small business owners and communities whose lives have been devastated by the destruction,” said Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. “Congressman Barton may think that a fund to compensate these Americans is a ‘tragedy’, but most Americans know that the real tragedy is what the men and women of the Gulf Coast are going through right now. Members from both parties should repudiate his comments.”