Prison labor in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida is famous.
I have written about it many times. I call it OnShore Manufacturing Cheap/Free Labor.
Watching Anderson Cooper and others unable to get a peep out of the "beach cleaners" got me to thinking. I concluded that it is quite possible/probable that those were inmates doing the work. Of course they won't talk to anyone, if so. Certainly not the inmates of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana!
So what, you may say. Who cares? Well, if no one cares then this country has already gone to hell, that's what! That BP crap is toxic and who knows how unhealthy it is mixed with the Corexit.
Besides which, the quick way the lower income people are jailed these days, it could be you or your little sister or brother forced out in that heat to pick up that crap.
We have to care or, sooner or later, it will be you and/or me on that beach.
Many Valdez workers died slow, horrible deaths. Isn't this why we are all not down there picking up tarballs?
This could be a revenue windfall for the states' correction facilities. They can charge BP whatever $$/hr. for inmate labor.
The states have boasted about how wonderful free prison labor is for them for years.
In total, these Community Work Squads (inmate labor) performed 6,388,034 hours of work valued at more than $64.2 million, and after costs, provided the citizens of Florida with a net cost savings/value added of $35.1 million.
Through the process of making these inmate work squads available to other governmental agencies and non-profit organizations the Department is able to assist these outside entities with their needs while continuing to fulfill its mission of providing an efficient corrections system for the citizens of Florida.
Or, conversely, if Florida charges BP (and BP is forced to pay) the full labor rate, Florida can charge enough to pay down their prison debt for years.
This piece of what we used to enjoy as journalism is nothing short of jaw dropping.
With Jobs to Do, Louisiana Parish Turns to Inmates, New York Times
Many people here in East Carroll Parish, as Louisiana counties are known, say they could not get by without their inmates, who make up more than 10 percent of its population and most of its labor force. They are dirt-cheap, sometimes free, always compliant, ever-ready and disposable
National prison experts say that only Louisiana allows citizens to use inmate labor on such a widespread scale, under the supervision of local sheriffs. The state has the nation's highest incarceration rate
They build dugouts and tend the athletic fields — free — at Briarfield Academy, a private school here. "They did an excellent job," said the school's principal, Morris Richardson, adding, "We try to provide their lunch for them."
The churches, too, are grateful beneficiaries. "They sent me prisoners for a month" for menial chores at the First Baptist Church, said Reynold Minsky, also chairman of the local levee board. "All completely free," Mr. Minsky added. "It's a real good deal. Everybody is tickled."
Many here view the inmates essentially as commodities, who can be returned behind bars after the agricultural season is over, and the need for labor is reduced.
"Good thing about it, wintertime, you can lock them up — put them in cold storage," said Billy Travis, a farmer and police juror, as county commissioners here are known. "I call it deep freeze."
Why do I suspect this is how it is done everywhere? Non-profits getting free prisoner labor? It's not free. You and I pay for prisoners through our taxes, or so it used to be. Anyone?
March 18, 2009
Alabama raising rates for inmate work squad labor. State get $15 a day. Prisoners get $2.
This year, there is a $43.3 million difference in the funding the corrections department gets from the state of Alabama and the amount it takes to run the system.
The department narrows the gap by charging for inmate squad labor, raising revenue through the prison work release program and other steps.
On Oct. 1, the start of fiscal 2010, the rate will increase from $10 per inmate, per day to $15.
ALDOT officials said they understand the need for increasing the fees.
"We have been talking about it," said ALDOT director Joe McInnes. "But whatever it is, it's going to be about 55 percent savings for us. It's going to be about 45 percent of what we are paying outside contractors now. Obviously they're looking for ways to increase their resources, and we need their help, and ... with this kind of savings, we think it's a good deal if we can get them to do more of this kind of work for us."
Corrections Commissioner Richard Allen has estimated that the new rates will bring in about $3 million each year.
Most Alabama correctional facilities employ the inmates. You can peruse here for the breakdown:
Ok, as an aside, this is an elephant in the room. The states are all falling short on their revenues, are receiving lots of stimulus money for shovel ready projects, and CAN SAVE A BUNDLE BY HAVING THEIR PRISONERS DO THE WORK, not the unemployed.
When the hell are you all going to start going ballistic?
And, lastly, Mississippi:
Community Work Centers
Listing of Community Work Centers
Community work centers are an alternative facility for inmates to finish serving their sentences. At a community work center, inmates routinely perform work for cities, counties, state agencies and charitable organizations as defined by 501(c)3, and are a valuable source of free labor. Examples of work performed include janitorial work, mechanic work and beautification of roadsides. It is common to see MDOC inmates picking up trash on the highways of Mississippi or at city and state parks.
MDOC currently has 17 community work centers statewide and each houses around 100 inmates. The community work center in Flowood houses all female community work center inmates, which is about 100 inmates. Inmates are drug tested often and failing a drug test is automatic return to an institution.
How does an inmate get assigned to a community work center? First, several criteria must be met. They include, but are not limited to:
Inmates must be within seven years of their earliest release date
Inmates must pass a drug and alcohol test
Inmates must be able to physically perform required work
Inmates must me free of rule violations for six month
So, based on the history of inmate labor in these states, in their own words, I think a suspicion that the "beach cleaners" that won't utter a peep to anyone are inmates. Inmates that could provide a profit for those charged with their care.
Can sick get any sicker? Well, we will find out if/when they become sick...or maybe we won't ever know.
Maybe the suspected inmate laborers are being used as the "CANARIES IN THE CAGE?"
........you know, it really really really makes me sad that people are not valued, especially those unfortunate to be born into a down trodden family in states so morally bankrupt as so-called Christain Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florda. Christian? Jesus must be quite ashamed of them.