Mass Incarceration, Prison Labor in the United States

Hits: 266

The Federal Prison Industries (FPI) under the brand UNICORE operates approximately 52 factories (prisons) across the United States. Prisoners manufacture or assemble a number of products for the US military, homeland security,and federal agencies according to the UNICORE/FPI website. They produce furniture, clothing and circuit boards in addition to providing computer aided design services and call center support for private companies.

UNICORE/FPI makes its pitch for employing call center support personnel to firms thinking about off-shoring their call center functions. The logic is that, hey!, they may be prisoners, but it’s keeping the jobs in the USA that matters. Fair enough. That approach cuts out the middleman though, those Americans desperate for any kind of work but, through no fault of their own, are not behind prison bars and employable by UNICORE/FPI.

Sure, it seems a heartless statement and there are any number of angles to take on why the USA is the world’s number one incarcerator: Capitalism, racism, social and political injustice, a pay-as-you-go legal system, bone-headed policy makers, prison lobbyists, the death penalty, employment/unemployment, drugs, gangs, costs/prices and a host of behavioral, psychological and environmental issues that I have missed.

Inevitably the black hole that is money eventually sucks in and corrupts everyone from those in local communities desperate for the work a prison facility provides to those investors who profit from the prison industry. They earn their livelihoods and take their profits from the misery and labor squeezed from theirhuman property–those prisoners who self-destructed and others who are serving terms way too long for the crime committed.

For the Love of Money

From October 2016 through March 2017, UNICORE/FPI sold $252,414,987 million worth of goods and services.

The prison labor industry is very keen on promoting its role in assembling the US military’s widely used Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS). In January defense contractor Harris Corp. was awarded a $403 million contract by the US Defense Logistics Agency for spare parts supporting tactical radio systems, which includes SINCGARS.

“UNICOR/FPI is a major supplier of SINCGARS radios, mounts, antennas, and installation and repair kits and when hard-mounted, our SINCGARS equipment meets rigorous military standards for shock and vibration in aircraft and tactical vehicles, such as Bradley’s and Humvees. Through our nationwide network of factories and trained technicians, we have successfully met aggressive production and distribution needs for this crucial communication equipment in Middle East military operations.”

Some of the purchases by the US Department of Defense include $14.8 million for electronic components, $887 thousand for communications equipment, $26.7 million for office furniture, $27.1 million for special purpose clothing and $7.5 million for body armor. The Department of Homeland security spent $372,255 on administrative support. The Executive Office of the US President spent $389 for signs and identification plates.

Fight Fire with Inmates

According to a Mother Jones article in 2015 somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of California’s forest firefighters are state prison inmates with some 4,000 working at any one time on fire lines. So dependent on the inmates was California that prison reforms that would see the release of some of the incarcerated firefighters were put on hold for fear of losing the manpower to fight California blazes. Then California attorney general Kamala Harris, now a US Senator, was behind the effort to keep the “cheap” firefighters behind bars,

“Prison reform advocates have raised concerns that the state is so reliant on the cheap labor of inmate firefighters that policymakers may be slow to adopt prison reforms as a result. The concern was magnified last fall, when lawyers for state Attorney General Kamala Harris argued that extending an early prison-release program to “all minimum custody inmates at this time would severely impact fire camp participation—a dangerous outcome while California is in the middle of a difficult fire season and severe drought.” Harris has since said she was “troubled” by the argument, and the state has ruled that minimum custody inmates, including firefighters, are eligible for the program so long as it proves not to deplete the numbers of inmate firefighters.”

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement detains women, men, children, and LGBTQI individuals in over 200 county jails and for-profit prisons, according to the grass roots group CIVIC. Some of these individuals include legal permanent residents with longstanding family and community ties, asylum-seekers, and victims of human trafficking.

It was former President Bill Clinton (Democrat) who started to load up detention centers and jails with immigrants, CIVIC noted.

“In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), which doubled the number of people in immigration detention from 8,500 each day in 1996 to 16,000 in 1998.Today, the detention population has increased fourfold to approximately 34,000 individuals each day, due in part to a congressionally mandated lock-up quota.”

President Donald Trump’s (Republican) animosity to immigrants is well known. He and his aptly named attorney general Jefferson Beauregard Sessions will make sure detention centers and prisons are overfilled with men, women and children from Mexico, Central and South America. Trump and Session’s maniacal quest wage war on crime, drugs and terrorism will likely ensure that many thousands more will find themselves locked away and working for UNICORE/FPI or lining the pockets of private prison company owners.

Immigrants Too

The non-profit group Towards Justice reported that a lawsuit is moving forward pitting private prison corporation against immigrants who were forced into labor while in detention.

“For the first time in history, a federal court allowed a class of immigrant detainees to jointly proceed with forced labor claims against the country’s second-largest private prison provider. Judge Kane in the District of Colorado certified a class of between 50,000 and 60,000 current and former immigrant detainees held at GEO’s Aurora, Colorado detention facility since 2004. These individuals, some of whom were found to legally reside in this country after months in detention, allege that they were forced to clean the detention center without pay and under threat of solitary confinement. This practice allowed GEO to reduce labor costs at the Aurora facility, where it employs just one custodian to maintain a detention center that houses up to 1,500 people at a time.”

Everyone Has Their Hands in the Pie

In January 2017, the Prison Policy Initiative (prisonpolicy.org) worked up a study titled Following the Money of Mass Incarceration. It shines the light on some of the unsettling reasons why the USA will never be able to reduce its reliance on mass incarceration. Those who depend on money that the prison industry provides will never give it up. It’s not just private companies but local communities, bondsmen, unions all the way up to the US Department of Defense who collect fees or purchase UNICORE/FPI products and services at dirt cheap prices.

Bail bond companies that collect $1.4 billion in nonrefundable fees from defendants and their families actively work to block reforms that threaten its profits, even if reforms could prevent people from being detained in jail because of their poverty. Specialized phone companies win monopoly contracts and charge families up to $24.95 for a 15-minute phone call. Commissary vendors that sell goods to incarcerated people — who rely largely on money sent by loved ones — is an even larger industry that brings in $1.6 billion a year. 38 towns and cities in the U.S., more than 10% of all revenue is collected from court fines and fees. In St. Louis County, five towns generated more than 40% of their annual revenue from court fines and fees in 2013.”

The over-incarceration of Americans is just one more vexing issue, piled on many—Afghanistan, Syria, education, Trump, Clinton’s, health care, taxes–in which US citizens find themselves trapped and unable to reach across the pro/con divide and cause change.


Originally published on 2017-06-20

Author: John Stanton

Source: Global Research

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

READ MORE!
The Authoritarian Militarization of the Croats in the 1990s
The internal and much more external destruction of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s was celebrating in 2015 its 20th years of anniversary. However, this historical and much more geopolitical event still needs a satisfactory research approach in regard to the true geopolitical reasons and political-military course of the destruction of this South Slavic and Balkan state. During the last quarter of century, the (western) global mainstream media unanimously accused Serbia and the Serbs for the national chauvinism as the main cause of the bloody wars on the territory of ex-Yugoslavia in the 1990s. However, the role and direct impact ...
READ MORE
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima, Nagasaki and American Nuclear Denial
“To Hell and Back” is a phrase that can bear a pretty heavy metaphorical load when it comes to talking about the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. It’s also the title of a book by Charles Pellegrino. Pellegrino’s book is a moving and grueling close-up look at the horrors experienced by the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki both on the day of the bombing and in the days and years afterward. I have the heart of a dried-up raisin but even I got a little teary in places. There are few opportunities for inspiring “triumph of the human spirit” narratives amid ...
READ MORE
Western Silence as 20,000 Neo-Nazis March in Ukraine
In one of the largest, if not the largest, Neo-Nazi demonstration in Europe since WW2, 20,000 facists marched through the streets of Ukraine’s capital Kiev last weekend under the silent gaze of the western media. Other than Russian state media RT and Sputnik News facists throwing Nazi salutes and parading in their tens of thousands in a European capital didn’t concern any of the major western news outlet. Nothing on BBC, France24, CNN, New York Times, The Guardian…the silence of the media lambs when it comes to a growing facists movement in Ukraine is deafening. The Ukrainian Nazis were honoring their ...
READ MORE
Erdogan’s Islamic Vehicle to the Balkans: Ottoman Symbolism in Kosovo
A billboard at a construction site, with a photo of an Ottoman-style mosque with four minarets and the flag of Turkey, was erected recently in the center of Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. With less than 2 million people, Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, is the home of over 800 mosques. Now the Islamic Community of Kosovo is building the “Central Mosque” at an estimated cost of $35- $40 million. Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) is financing the project. The Diyanet also financed the building of a similar mosque on a 10,000-square-meter parcel of land on ...
READ MORE
The Dark Side of the Empire
One of rock's greatest albums is Pink Floyd's 1973 Dark Side of the Moon.This somber, surrealistic album paints a picture of what society has become, both 44 years ago and now. Such is this present American Empire, replete with our phony wars, excessive militaristic mindset and of course the drive for super wealth by greedy corporations and equally greedy individuals.Those of us who "knew better" foresaw the economic bubble burst of 2008 years before it occurred. So many of our friends and neighbors cared not a damn about the phony wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and later on against Libya and now proxy ...
READ MORE
Donald Trump and the Jewish Question
As news of appointments to the Trump administration flow in, the hard Right is riding high, and anti-Semitism and Zionism are in the news in ways that purveyors of conventional wisdom have to struggle to make sense of.  The Trump phenomenon has undone conventional understandings of both. Trump’s thirty-something son-in-law, Jared Kushner, Ivanka’s husband, embodies a lot of what has put those conventional understandings in doubt. A (modern) orthodox Jew and rabid Zionist, Kushner is not exactly éminence grise material; his is too young and insubstantial to be what Dick Cheney was for George Bush.  Nevertheless, he does seem to be stepping ...
READ MORE
“Putinism” in American History
Many articles in the US press have speculated at length in an attempt to define a new ideology called “Putinism.” The pieces serve as an attempt to fit Putin into an outdated Cold War narrative, as if some new ideology in the Russian Federation is playing the role that Marxism-Leninism once played in the Soviet Union, though the current Russian constitution forbids this. The notable leaders of history are rarely ideologues. History judges people mainly by what they achieve, not what they write or say. As Chinese President Xi Jinping recently put it: “The worth of any plan is in its ...
READ MORE
“Humanitarian Intervention” and the „New World Order“: A Violation of the International Law
The Concept & The Origin Of The TermThe term „humanitarian intervention“ is the American political neologism (newly coined word) to morally cover a new format of  Washington's global imperialism at the time of the post-Cold War's „New World Order“ in which the USA feel very comfortable to play a role of a global policeman. Theoretically, according to the Western conception of „humanitarian intervention“, one or more states (the USA and the NATO) have a moral (quasi) obligation and/or right to intervene into the internal affairs of other state, if this state (according to the self-evaluation by Washington) does not respect ...
READ MORE
Kosovo: Heroin Transport Corridor
US-NATO military control of Kosovo serves several purposes for Washington’s greater geo-strategic agenda. First it enables greater US control over potential oil and gas pipeline routes into the EU from the Caspian and Middle East as well as control of the transport corridors linking the EU to the Black Sea. It also protects the multi-billion dollar heroin trade, which, significantly, has grown to record dimensions in Afghanistan according to UN narcotics officials, since the US occupation. Kosovo and Albania are major heroin transit routes into Europe. According to a 2008 US State Department annual report on international narcotics traffic, several key ...
READ MORE
The Srebrenica Massacre: Some Victims are More Equal than Others
Last month was the 18th anniversary of the attack on the Serbian village of Kravica committed by Moslem forces from Srebrenica under the command of Naser Orić on Orthodox Christmas day, January 7, 1993. Several dozen villagers were killed in the attack, the remaining Serbian population was forced to flee to safety, and many homes were pillaged, demolished and torched during the several weeks that Kravica was forcibly occupied by neighbours from nearby Srebrenica. Regardless of arcane debates of who started the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, on a human level the attack on the village of Kravica and the ...
READ MORE
Turkish Position at the “Southern Wing” of the NATO and Turkey’s Relations with the EU
The present-day Republic of Turkey is a legal successor state of the former Ottoman Empire (Sultanate). The Republic was founded and proclaimed by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on October 29th, 1923 as a result of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after the lost WWI. A republican Turkey originally was based on the following six principles: Republicanism – Republic instead of a monarchical sultanate. Nationalism - An aggressive anti-minority policy within the state especially against the Kurds. Populism – It was attended in the atmosphere of the absence of a multiparty democracy to gather as much as popular support for the ...
READ MORE
Kosovo: An Illegal Entity Annexed and Ruled by NATO is to Create a Regular Army
Kosovo is to set up a regular standing army, officially defying everyone, including NATO, although the bloc’s objections are only half-hearted. The alliance would prefer that the illegal entity of Kosovo change its constitution in order to create an army. Just amend it, and then you’re free to have one. This stance looks more like connivance than any real opposition to the move. Washington’s position is more or less the same. It supports "the gradual, transparent transformation of the Kosovo Security Force into a multiethnic force in line with NATO standards" as long as it complies with the provisions of Kosovo’s constitution, reflecting that “entity’s multiethnic ...
READ MORE
Kosovo Albanian “Skanderbeg SS Division”
The historical and political precedents for the creation of a greater Sqiperia or Greater Albania was set during World War II when the Kosovo and Metohija regions along with territory Southwest of lake Skutari from Montenegro and the western region of Southern Serbia, or Juzna Srbija (now part of Macedonia), were annexed to Albania by the Axis powers led by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, under a plan devised by Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler to dismember and to destroy the Serbian Nation and people, which the Germans and Italians perceived as the main threat to the Axiss powers and ...
READ MORE
How Palestinians Can Reverse Israel’s Divide and Conquer Tactics
Most veteran observers, including Israeli security authorities and Palestinian leadership, were dumbfounded by recent events in Jerusalem, where tens of thousands of Palestinians mobilized non-violently in response to the Israeli closure of the Old City and placement of metal detectors at the entrance of the Dome of Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. What was the secret ingredient that made such a mass action take place and be a successful example in Palestinian non-violent resistance to the 50 years of Israeli military occupation? How did it happen so spontaneously, non-violently and with seemingly no leadership?A new report by the group, titled, Relations Between Palestinians Across ...
READ MORE
Reviving the ‘Chemical Weapons’ Lie: New US-UK Calls for Regime Change, Military Attack Against Syria
Here it comes again. As the enemies of peace continue to pressure a new US President into deeper war commitments overseas, and as Washington’s Deep State works relentlessly opposing Russian moves in Syria at every turn, the war drums have started again – beating harder than ever now, clamouring for a new US-led attack on Syria. This morning we saw the familiar theme emerge, and just in time to provide a convenient backdrop to this week’s Brussels’ ‘Peace Talks’ and conference on “Syria’s Future”. The US-led ‘Coalition’ prepares to make its end-run into Syria to ‘Retake Raqqa,’ and impose its Safe Zones in order ...
READ MORE
Pax Americana: Who are the Neocon Imperialists?
Neocon 101: What do Neoconservatives Believe? “Neocons” believe that the United States should not be ashamed to use its unrivaled power – forcefully if necessary – to promote its values around the world. Some even speak of the need to cultivate a US empire. Neoconservatives believe modern threats facing the US can no longer be reliably contained and therefore must be prevented, sometimes through preemptive military action. Most neocons believe that the US has allowed dangers to gather by not spending enough on defense and not confronting threats aggressively enough. One such threat, they contend, was Saddam Hussein and his pursuit of ...
READ MORE
Pages Purged by Facebook Were on Blacklist Promoted by Washington Post
Media outlets removed by Facebook on Thursday, in a massive purge of 800 accounts and pages, had previously been targeted in a blacklist of oppositional sites promoted by the Washington Post in November 2016. The organizations censored by Facebook include The Anti-Media, with 2.1 million followers, The Free Thought Project, with 3.1 million followers, and Counter Current News, with 500,000 followers. All three of these groups had been on the blacklist. In November 2016, the Washington Post published a puff-piece on a shadowy and up to then largely unknown organization called PropOrNot, which had compiled a list of organizations it claimed were ...
READ MORE
The Truth about Christopher Columbus
“In fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…. Today, Christopher Columbus is celebrated as a mythical hero by some – complete with songs, poems, and fictional tales about his great adventure across the Atlantic to explore the majestic land that would eventually be known as the Americas. There are fifty four communities named after the explorer in the United States, including the District of Columbia. “Hail, Columbia” was the United States’ unofficial national anthem until 1931. A federal holiday, “Columbus Day,” is celebrated every second Monday in October. Despite all of this, historians have begun to tear down the ...
READ MORE
The Empire Wants Ms. Hitllary Clinton, The Conqueror!
What a fine race it has become! Both Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump are competing in it as a who is the ‘tougher guy/gal’ in what could be easily described as a 21st Century Tarantino-style (or Scorsese-style) political pulp fiction gore. What they both utter, may often sound like some staged bluff: “Are you talking to me? Hey, there’s nobody else here… Are you talking to me?” But just think for a moment what would really happen if one of them sticks to his or her ‘promises’ and ‘principles’, after getting elected! (The bullets would be flying, the nukes exploding, and millions ...
READ MORE
Prelude to World War III
Unless Syria will simply hand its most heavily pro-jihadist province, Idlib, to adjoining Turkey, which claims to have 30,000 troops there and is planning to add 20,000 more, World War III will probably happen soon, and here is why: Russia’s troops are in Syria at the invitation of Syria’s Government and they have provided crucial assistance to restore the Government’s control over areas that the jihadists (sometimes called “Radical Islamic Terrorists” or otherwise) had seized. Consequently, unlike the Turks and the Americans, who are invaders of Syria, Russia is instead a defender of Syria, and is committed to doing there only ...
READ MORE
The Authoritarian Militarization of the Croats in the 1990s
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima, Nagasaki and American Nuclear Denial
Western Silence as 20,000 Neo-Nazis March in Ukraine
Erdogan’s Islamic Vehicle to the Balkans: Ottoman Symbolism in Kosovo
The Dark Side of the Empire
Donald Trump and the Jewish Question
“Putinism” in American History
“Humanitarian Intervention” and the „New World Order“: A Violation of the International Law
Kosovo: Heroin Transport Corridor
The Srebrenica Massacre: Some Victims are More Equal than Others
Turkish Position at the “Southern Wing” of the NATO and Turkey’s Relations with the EU
Kosovo: An Illegal Entity Annexed and Ruled by NATO is to Create a Regular Army
Kosovo Albanian “Skanderbeg SS Division”
How Palestinians Can Reverse Israel’s Divide and Conquer Tactics
Reviving the ‘Chemical Weapons’ Lie: New US-UK Calls for Regime Change, Military Attack Against Syria
Pax Americana: Who are the Neocon Imperialists?
Pages Purged by Facebook Were on Blacklist Promoted by Washington Post
The Truth about Christopher Columbus
The Empire Wants Ms. Hitllary Clinton, The Conqueror!
Prelude to World War III
Global-Politics.eu

Written by Global-Politics.eu

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu