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View Diary: Backsliding into Jim Crow in Alabama (149 comments)

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  •  As late as the mid-80's (3+ / 0-)

    prisons in Mississippi and Tennessee were run on a "for profit" basis as farms.  Examples: Parchman Prison was a huge cotton, soybean operation.  Fort Pillow State Farm was a cotton, soybean and beef operation.

    Most of the worst abuses at Parchman imho were the result of the work crews. There were no fences, so prisoners were kept "on the job" by "gun lines."  You leave the field, you get shot.

    That ended iirc in the late '70s. And was immediately replaced with other kinds of more civilized brutality.

    So the idea of prisoners as free/cheap labor is far from new. And then there's the language of the 13th Amendment itself about involuntary servitude except as punishment for crime.

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