Inmates a threat to “free labor.”Slave Labor-Gerrymandering, Redistricting, ALEC, Koch Brothers and their Conservative Agenda…

Inmates a threat to “free labor.”Slave Labor-Gerrymandering, Redistricting, ALEC, Koch Brothers and their Conservative Agenda…

I recently read an informative article about Arizona’s private prison industry and the impact upon communities by the way the political districts are drawn to allow small rural, communities with predominantly white populations to enjoy financial benefits of having large inmate populations counted in their census. This also allows small communities to appear to have populations that represent African-American and Hispanic ethnicities, where that representation is all behind bars.

Dining hall, Stillwater Prison.

Dining hall, Stillwater Prison.

Legislatures could pass laws banning prison industries from bidding directly against free-labor companies or requiring them to pay prevailing wages. “A `free market’ economy ought to have no place for a vast army of prisoners undermining the wages of working people,”

Before his conviction, Dave owned a computer company, even taught at a tech school. Now, within prison walls, a program called Minnesota Computers for Schools has made him a highly-valued employee once again.

Prisoners at the Arizona women`s prison in Phoenix have done a good portion of motel reservations for Best Western since 1981. Arizona inmates also take telephone ticket sales for NBA basketball games, Ice Capades shows, rock concerts and other events for the Dillard department store chain in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. Officials said the prison is now looking for contracts with car-rental companies.

Trans World Airlines employs 70 offenders incarcerated by the California Youth Authority, a branch of the state`s penal system.
“If you book a flight on TWA, you’ll likely be talking to a prisoner at a California correctional facility that the airline uses for its reservations service,” writes Gordon Lafer. “Microsoft has used Washington State prisoners to pack and ship Windows software.”

“AT&T has used prisoners for telemarketing,” Lafer informs readers. “Honda, for manufacturing parts; and even Toys `R’ Us, for cleaning and stocking shelves for the next day’s customers.”

Oregon passed a 1994 ballot measure requiring inmates to work 40 hours a week and the state to actively hawk their services to the private sector.  A Eugene, Ore., hospital ditched a private linen service and went with a prison laundry, while a South Georgia recyclingplant laid off 50 workers and replaced them with inmates from a women’s prison (of the 50 who lost their jobs, 35 took the posts originally to get off welfare).

Abraham Lincoln
Second Inaugural Address
March 4, 1865

These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.


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