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Profit seeking businesses have always sought out those among the indigenous population they could exploit the most where labor is concerned.  Reduced labor costs means $$$ in the cash registers of the already affluent.  This was the case in post-Civil War America as those rebuilding the South used Black Codes to provide slave labor to both government and private business.  This same kind of exploitation was used by Robber Barons in the U.S. when they pursued building the first Transcontinental Railroad during the same period.  African-Americans in the west were scarce, so for the project's Western approaches the wealthy entrepreneurs used Chinese and Irish immigrants.

In world history there have always been slaves - prisoners of war, captured civilians from warring tribes were taken in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Egyptian Pharaohs enslaved the Jewish - as Mankind evolved.   Man has somehow always found a way to exploit others as they pursued wealth, influence and the power that comes from both.

Today in "our" world this has not really changed with regard to exploitation of humanity for wealth accumulation through cheap labor and other means.  The road to Civil Rights in the U.S. is littered with the blood of thousands and the bodies of hundreds as America struggled to free itself from the chains of servitude - indentured as well as basic human rights.

Historically those enslaved have been those with the least public support, the smallest voice to object to their treatment and those with the least access to legal recourse.  This has been the plight of African-Americans in the U.S. since slavery began centuries ago.  They have been one of the most exploited minorities in our history.  There have been other classes, races or groups subjected to exploitation, but not to the extent, depth and consistency as that visited upon African-Americans.  With the implementation of the Civil Rights legislation of the 60's and 70's many believed this racial disparity had changed.  It really didn't, rather it was pushed underground much as the 13th Amendment prohibitions were a hundred or so years earlier.

What has changed since the racial turmoil of the 1960's and early 70's, was the process used to wring free or cheap labor from those most vulnerable.  After centuries of slavery most in the civilized world have come to denounce the term as inhumane and unacceptable under any circumstance.  Still it remains alive and well in the United States and other countries such as China but it is no longer called "Slavery" by those advocating it and using it to pursue personal or corporate it is called incarceration and is allowed under the same 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

Section 1: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

"Section 2: Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

 This Amendment followed the issuance of President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, when it was voted into acceptance in 1865.

This Constitutional Amendment was merely a speed bump to those wanting to oppress those they perceive as belonging to a "lower class".  Using this "law" those wanting to exploit the labor of others merely concentrated on the second section of the 13th Amendment to push for the creation of laws by Congress to enable incarcerating more and more African-Americans and those considered "Poor White Trash."

In the mid 70's along came Illinois State Representative Henry Hyde, activist Paul Weyrich, and Lou Barnett, a veteran of then Gov. Ronald Reagan's 1968 presidential campaign, together with a handful of others, launching the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  Among those who were involved with ALEC in its formative years were: Bob Kasten and Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin; John Engler of Michigan; Terry Branstad of Iowa, and John Kasich of Ohio, all of whom moved on to become governors or Members of Congress.  Congressional members who were active during this same period included Senators John Buckley of New York and Jesse Helms of North Carolina, as well as Congressmen Phil Crane of Illinois and Jack Kemp of New York.

ALEC's purpose?

"A nonpartisan membership association for state lawmakers who shared a common belief in limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty. Their vision and initiative resulted in the creation of a voluntary membership association for people who believed that government closest to the people was fundamentally more effective, more just, and a better guarantor of freedom than the distant, bloated federal government in Washington, D.C."

This was the beginning of "real" Conservatism in the U.S. and this group and the individual members had one main goal in mind - create legislation beneficial to business.  They understood that in order to garner membership and financing, they had to offer an attraction to those with the money.  They chose to pursue legislation to create harsher criminal laws to incarcerate thousands as a means of providing a way for corporations to flourish.  Coupled with their pursuits of criminal justice "reforms", ALEC sought legislation to allow private corporations to capitalize off of the growing number of prisoners - predominantly African-Americans - in our prisons, a direct result of ALEC's Criminal Justice "Reforms".  As with many of today, the rhetoric spoken by ALEC about "individual liberty", "free markets" and "federalism" in the 70's and 80's was not intended for the masses.  Rather it was for the corporate elite, businesses and companies looking to shed the shackles of regulations that limited their pursuit of wealth and profits.

ALEC sought and prevailed in proposing and enacting laws beneficial to those fighting America's "Drug War" in every state and at the federal level.  While pushing for the enactment of these harsh oppressive laws, they also sought out legislation to allow for privatization of prisons.  This would open the door to corporate use of prisons for profiting from incarceration created by ALEC.  In 1979 Congress passed the Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP) as part of the Justice System Improvement Act.  PIECP was a new federal law allowing private corporations access to prison labor by allowing partnerships between those private manufacturers and state prison industries.  The Bill titled Justice System Improvement Act, was introduced in the Senate by Senator Edward Kennedy and had 12 co-sponsors:

Sen Baker, Howard H., Jr. [TN] - 1/3/1979
Sen Baucus, Max [MT] - 1/3/1979
Sen Bayh, Birch [IN] - 1/3/1979
Sen Cochran, Thad [MS] - 1/3/1979
Sen DeConcini, Dennis [AZ] - 1/3/1979
Sen Dole, Robert J. [KS] - 1/3/1979
Sen Glenn, John H., Jr. [OH] - 1/3/1979
Sen Hatch, Orrin G. [UT] - 1/3/1979
Sen Javits, Jacob K. [NY] - 1/3/1979
Sen Laxalt, Paul D. [NV] - 1/3/1979
Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT] - 1/3/1979
Sen Thurmond, Strom [SC] - 1/3/1979

A companion bill with the same title was introduced in the U.S. House by Rep. Peter W. Rodino, Jr. and there were two co-sponsors:
Rep Mazzoli, Romano L. [KY-3] - 1/3/1979
Rep McClory, Robert [IL-13] - 1/3/1979
 This legislation originally had nothing in it pertaining to the production of prison made goods, a program to allow corporations to partner with prison industries to use inmate labor or shipping of those goods across state lines.  That part of the Justice System Improvement Act did not surface until well into the legislative discussion on the Bills.  In May of 1979 the first mention of such a program was introduced into the legislation.

By the mid 1980's incarceration had begun to explode as prisons and jails filled with the many men and women caught up in the new laws proposed by ALEC began to be enforced.  Some of these laws were deliberately written to allow African-Americans to be targeted by law enforcement, prosecutors and judges.  Disparate laws such as those involving powder cocaine and crack cocaine - Whites were attracted to and used the more expensive powder form as a "recreational" drug, while African-American's with less financial resources turned to crack cocaine as their choice. Legislation was enacted that made it possible to target Blacks and Latinos using crack with laws 100 times more harsh than the laws on powder forms of the same drug:

"In 1986 -- at the height of the inner-city crack cocaine epidemic and the fears it sparked -- Congress rushed the passage of legislation that required mandatory minimum prison sentences of at least five years for the possession of just five grams of crack cocaine. The same law, though, said that someone would have to possess five hundred grams of powder cocaine to receive a comparable prison term -- a ratio of 1 to 100. This massive sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine set in motion the mass incarceration of African Americans and Latinos. With mandatory minimums and measures such as three-strikes laws, the trend has spread to working-class whites, as well.

There's no reason our society should shoulder this injustice. Mandatory minimum sentencing violates Fourteenth Amendment guarantees of equal protection, since the law's burden falls disproportionately upon racial and ethnic minorities. While in 2006, more than 66% of crack cocaine users were white, a full 82% of those sentenced under the federal crack cocaine law were African Americans -- even though blacks were estimated to represent less than 15% of crack users."

Other laws pertaining to firearms - possession or use - have been used to incarcerate larger segments of the African-American communities.  The list goes on and it is all disproportionate when compared to ethnic percentages in the U.S.

While our lawmakers were enacting these harsh drug laws, they were also working on limiting the discretion of prosecutors and judges.  ALEC suggested and their members successfully got the U.S. Congress to pass new Sentencing Guidelines in 1984 as part of the Sentencing Reform Act.  Part of this "Act" abolished parole in the federal system and most states enacted similar legislation adopting this federal guideline as state law and abolishing parole at the same time.

All of these legislative efforts by ALEC and their corporate members and funders created a bulging prison population from coast to coast.  In 2007 the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reported that African-American incarceration rates are 6.5 times that of Whites incarcerated.  Perhaps this disparity is better understood when given in graph form?  Below is a graph distributed by the Project America:Inprisonment_Rates

ALEC and their corporate members rubbed their hands expectantly as they sought - and received - contract after contract from the feds and many states authorizing the privatization of prison facilities.  Between then and now in Texas alone, they were able to establish 60 private prison facilities housing men, women and juveniles - mostly of African-American descent.  Arizona has many of these privately run prisons as does Florida and several other mostly Southern U.S. states.  A large number of these private run prisons have prison industries attached and the inmates are put to work in those operations.  Most are partnered with companies allowing them access to this labor.

This disparity reflects the efforts of legislation proposed and presented to the state and federal assemblies by ALEC and their lawmakers.  They created Truth in Sentencing (TIS) laws, minimum mandatory drug and gun laws, a Prison Industries Act, and proposed more legislation to exploit PIECP. Here are the initiatives presented by ALEC's Public Safety and Elections Task Force:

Courts and Sentencing
Electronically Issued Warrants Act
Minimum-Mandatory Sentencing Act
Exclusionary Rule Act
Open Parole Hearings Act
Hearsay in Public Hearings Act
Remote Video Court Appearance Act
Insanity Defense Reform Act
Shock Incarceration Act
Judicial Sentencing Disclosure Act
Third Theft Felony Act
Mandatory Demand Reduction Assessment Act
Truth in Sentencing Act
Alternative Method of Court Appearances Act
Bail Fugitive Recovery Persons Act
Anti-Crime (Secured Release) Act
Bailable Offences Act
Bail Agent Education and Licensing Act
Uniform Bail Act
Bail Bond Expiration Act
Conditional Early Release Bond
Bail Forfeiture Notification Act
Citizen's Right to Know: Pretrial Release Act
Bail Forfeiture Payments Act
Crimes With Bail Restrictions Act
Bail Forfeiture Relief and Remission Act
Criminal Justice Drug Testing Act
Prescription Non-Narcotic Assured Access Act
Drug Dealer Liability Act
Publication of Drug Offender Photographs Act
Drug-Affected Infants Act
State Employee Drug Free Workplace Act
Drug-Free Housing Project
Suspension of Professional Licenses Act
Drug-Free Post Secondary Education Act
Treatment Center Accountability Act
Drug-Free Schools Act
Use of a Minor in Drug Operations Act
Drug-Free Workplace Act
Workplace Drug Testing Act
Methamphetamine Reduction Act
 Then there are initiatives on prison:
Housing Out-of-State Prisoners in a Private Prison Act
Prison Industries Act
Inmate Labor Disclosure Act
Resolution on Prison Expenditures
Model State Bill Prohibiting Wireless Handsets in Prisons
Targeted Contracting for Certain Correctional Facilities and Services Act
Prevention of Illegal Payments to Inmates Incentives Act
Juvenile Justice and miscellaneous legislation:
Habitual Juvenile Offender Act
Parental Accountability Act
Juvenile Identification Act
Comprehensive Asset Forfeiture Act
Resolution In Support Of The Second Chance Act
Disarming a Law Enforcement Officer Act
School Violence Prevention Resolution
DNA Profiling Act
Resolution Calling on States to Defund ACORN
Criminal Record Reporting Act
Habitual Violent Offender Incarceration Act
Electronic Home Detention Act
Intensive Probation Act
The foregoing represent merely some of the legislation described as "Acts" proposed by one of ALEC's nine "Task Forces" comprised of lawmakers and 300 of the largest and most influential corporations in the U.S. - Including Koch Industries, of course.  All of the legislative efforts of ALEC are geared to making money for their corporate partners - period. This is what they exist for.  Oh, sure they have much rhetoric about Jeffersonian Principles, federalism, etc...but the bottom line is that for ALEC to continue to exist and wield influence, they must have the funding necessary to carry their efforts forward.

Part and parcel of securing continued funding from the likes of Koch, AT&T Corrections Corporation of America, Geo Group and hundreds more is pursuing that which makes those corporate elite rich.  This "elite" is described in Eric Heubeck's 2000 Essay and today serves as the Treatise of Alec.  It is titled: "The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement."  It describes this "Elite" in several forms throughout the Treatise, using that term no less than 15 times.  Most often the term is used to describe a "Cultural-elite" opposed to a "non-Cultural-Elite."  I believe Heubeck clearly intends that this non-cultural-elite term represents most minorities in the U.S. that typically vote Democratic.  Which brings us back to the ethnic issue of exploitation of such minorities.

Prison privatization - as I mentioned previously - is a part of the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC).  These privately run prisons earn billions of dollars for the owners of, and investors in, those corporations.  Along with private prisons comes the peripheral privatized services; food service, medical and healthcare, banking, canteens and commissary operations, phone contracts, cell and housing products - and again the list goes on and on.  The largest profits are not from any of the above privatized services or even housing.  No the largest profit is derived off of the labor of those incarcerated.  Today hundreds of thousands of prisoners are working in prison industries nationwide.  These men and women are disproportionately African-Americans.  They are worked for as little as $.13 cents an hour in state and federally run prisons.  ALEC's "Acts" created this huge workforce with the assistance of their lawmaker members.  Also with the assistance of the same lawmakers they developed their "Prison Industries Act".  In addition they promoted expansion and corporate involvement in the PIECP program as mentioned elsewhere herein, at their Summits and Annual Conferences from 2000 through 2003.  The goal of ALEC regarding their Prison Industries Act and pursuit of PIECP operations was to make this large captive workforce of prisoners available to those corporate interests involved in manufacturing that are associated, affiliated or members of ALEC.

Once this huge labor force was available and put to work in prison industries making products for the U.S. government and private manufacturers, they began to complain about the working conditions, wages and abuses they received at the hands of their warders and employers.  Lawsuits were filed in state and federal courts by African-Americans imprisoned and worked as slave laborers.  ALEC and their corporate elite could not allow this kind of "voice" of the workers to find it's way to the public.  So they and their lawyers went to work silencing even the whispers heard from within the prison walls.  They were able to pass legislation that allowed state and federal courts to find that the complaints made by prisoners as to wages and working conditions were "frivolous" and as such these courts could dismiss the cases without considering the merits of the issues.  When prisoners continued to press these issues, federal courts issued rulings that even though prisoners were considered "employees" for purposes of deducting taxes and "voluntarily" participating in PIECP and other work programs, they did not qualify as "employees" for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  In a recent Federal 5th Circuit Appellate case (Williams v. Henagan, et al., No. 07-30997, 5th Cir., 2010), the Court ruled that even an offender working on supervised release was not entitled to even minimum wage due to the fact he had been sentenced to hard labor, and the portion of his sentence being served under supervised release removed the FLSA protections.  In addition Williams was worked overtime weekly and his employer not required to pay him for such overtime.  Of important note this article was found at Business Management Daily and was written to provide business owners with information advising them to look to jail and prison release programs in their area they could use to work around FLSA provisions.

Today state and federal courts routinely dismiss cases and after finding the issues presented by prisoners to be "frivolous" they order that the prisoner is prohibited from petitioning the court in the future on even unrelated issues.  So even this door through which whispers can sometimes be heard have been slammed shut on prisoner's voices.

There is no doubt that pursuing cheap or free labor is done every day by companies and businesses owned by the wealthy as they look for ways to reduce costs and increase profits.  In the 80's through the mid 2000's they took our jobs overseas to countries where cheap labor was plentiful, regulations were non-existent, EPA requirements have never been heard of, vacations, sick leave and health care insurance was not required and where the number of hours worked by laborers were dictated by the companies - not government regulations or restrictions.  During this same period these companies also turned their eyes filled with dollar signs upon the prison workforce nearer to them here in the U.S.  The same workforce created by the likes of ALEC and their corporate benefactors.  Using the laws created in 1979 under the Justice System Improvement Act (sounds like something beneficial to society, huh?) and the agencies created by that legislation - the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Institute of Justice - corporations were able to tap into that huge captive labor force.  Remember, the Department of Justice today controls or has authority over 100% of the federal prison industries and the labor of federal inmate workers and they also control the operation of 43 state prison industries partnered with private industry to allow access to inmate labor by privately owned companies and corporations.  Without the DOJ authorization and manipulations, none of this would be possible.

With all of the provisions of PIECP to not require the payment of benefits, vacations, etc., companies were still not satisfied so they found a way to further reduce inmate wages to minimum wage or less.  Together these corporate interests with the willing cooperation of the Department of Justice, the BJA and the National Correctional Industries Association (NCIA) completely twisted the laws involved in PIECP to the point where it has no real resemblance to the legislation actually passed in 1979.  They were able to get the BJA to outsource all oversight of the program to those participating in the program itself!  The NCIA is nothing more than a country club of the good ol' boys involved in prison industries sitting as the only oversight and authority over the program.  The entire NCIA Board is made up of prison industry administrators participating in the program.  Other members are those corporations partnered with the prison industries, those that supply parts and materials to the various industries and lesser employees of all of the above.  All of these companies, organizations and government agencies working together have created an atmosphere favorable to corporations.  Their combined efforts have served to reduce civilian jobs - sending them behind prison fences where profits abound for those with access to these captive workers.  As we look for jobs to support us and our families, they only place where employment is available are in the prisons.

Please check out the above-provided link to the NCIA and pay particular attention to the ethnicity of all of those that sit upon that board...there is only one race depicted among those representing such state prison industries as: Tennessee, Virginia, Montana, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Arkansas and all the rest.  I believe if this were 150 years ago, the same kind of ethnic makeup would be seen in magazines and news articles describing those supporting slavery and secession from the U.S.

Today it is no longer just the African-American population these despicable laws and corporations are going after.  No, the Black communities have worked for years to instill their children with the real facts about crime and have made great strides in attempting to reduce the numbers within their communities and families that wind up in prison.  From the mid 2000's on there has been a low but steady reduction in incarceration involving African-Americans.  It has escaped the notice of most Americans but not the analysts at companies like Geo Group, Corrections Corporations of America and those belonging to ALEC.  These companies and ALEC take great interest in trends and behavioral changes that would impact upon their interests.

In 2009 the trend became more noticeable as many privately owned prison beds began to sit vacant.  Something had to be done as federal prison industry factories began to close due to the economy.  Never fear, ALEC again came to the rescue with a solution to filling those beds...they began working on laws related to illegal immigration!  Black prisoners were diminishing so Brown ones would take their place.  ALEC proposed the SB 1070 legislation that wound up being introduced in Arizona in early 2010.  Now just over a year later, similar laws are upon the desks of many state Assemblies in the U.S...put there by ALEC's lawmaker members in each state and supported fully by fellow Republican lawmakers that see this as part of the GOP agenda.

Just as African-Americans have been targeted by legislation designed to put them in prison, work them hard and keep them as long as possible...illegal aliens, most of Hispanic or Latino descent are now centered in the cross hairs of ALEC as the new captive workforce.  Since ALEC's members CCA and Geo Group hold the largest number of state and federal contracts to house federal immigrant detainees, they are poised to make a fortune off of housing those the laws are targeting.  These contracts call for U.S. taxpayers to fund as much as $62,000.00 per year, per bed in each of these privately owned or operated detention facilities!  Why so much?  Immigrants are not per-se criminals, instead they are not charged with felony crimes, so they have to be treated differently than incarcerated inmates.  Of course where corners can be cut, they're cut to increase the profits.  Many articles of today reveal the horrors visited upon those housed within a Geo or CCA facility.

In conclusion it doesn't look good for the immigrants representing this new "Treasure" sought after by corporations and ALEC.  Just as ALEC and others lined up to create legislation targeting African-Americans over the last few decades as a means to wealth, they have of late moved the focus of their targeting upon Mexicans and others of similar heritage.  This is why it is important for all of us, Black, White, Brown or Yellow to stand together and put an end to this exploitation for profit through incarceration.  All of us have to close our ears to the rhetoric spewed by ALEC and their ilk that the laws they propose, initiatives brought before state Congressional members and other efforts combined with evangelical overtones are necessary for America.  If we stop listening and vote with our hearts instead of upon the slick campaign ads, we can get through this.  Not unscathed, but enlightened to the agenda these individuals, corporations and those organizations bought and paid for by the likes of Charles and David Koch propose for us.

Once we defeat this pariah at the polls in 2012 and send them home counting their losses in seats and money we must then turn our attention to freeing those still incarcerated with little reason to be there - except for the fabricated laws enacted to enrich those who created the laws in the first place.

Don't forget the Anti-ALEC Rally in Cincinnati on April 28th and 29th!  Please try and attend and lend your voice in opposition to their manipulating our laws to increase profits for their corporate members!  Many Teach-Ins are scheduled to provide us with ways and means to stop ALEC and begin combating those laws they've put in place over the years to exploit our society...

Originally posted to Bob Sloan on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 02:02 PM PDT.

Also republished by EcoJustice, Community Spotlight, and Three Star Kossacks.


Can we stop corporations from using prison labor to fill their wallets?

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| 122 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wow! (24+ / 0-)

    What an incredible diary! Thank you!

    In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God ~RFK

    by vcmvo2 on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 02:44:56 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for coming by and taking part! n/t (10+ / 0-)

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 02:49:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed (6+ / 0-)

      an actual conspiracy -- not a theory -- under the radar, and shocking and depressing.

      This should be on top of the Rec. list.

      It fits with Dennis G.'s (Dengre's) work on "stealing labor" whether by actual slavery, destroying unions, near slave labor in the Marianas, etc.

      The GOP: "You can always go to the Emergency Room."

      by Upper West on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:59:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It should have been (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Upper West

        But it took DR to rescue it before it was recommended enough to hit the rec list.

        Sometimes the rec list recs the same diary over and over again!

        In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God ~RFK

        by vcmvo2 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:13:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No, it's not a conspiracy. These people are (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bob Sloan

        not thinking.  They are directed by their preconceived notions.  All of the statistics about skewed ethnic ratios make no difference to people who assume that some humans are inferior and, therefor, like cattle and other herd animals, properly exploited by their "betters."  The prison industrial complex is but one example of what I call human husbandry -- the exploitation of humans by their own kind to their detriment.  It's a kinder-gentler alternative to just killing people one doesn't like.  It's the perception which considers troops fungible and looks on humans as just another natural resource, infinitely available, as long as women don't refuse to become pregnant and parenthood is planned.  Because, when humans start planning to reproduce, they become reluctant to have their children "sacrificed" for the national interest.

        Yes, prison facilities are standing vacant.  The anticipated rioting in the cities, a repeat of the sixties, has never materialized.  Passive resistance has been more successful than anticipated.  

        But, you're quite right.  Deprivation under cover of law goes back to legal slavery.  Although the deprivation of rights is supposed to be reserved as punishment for crime, the law has always been used as a tool to subjugate certain segments of the population.

        Children have no human rights.  That's one reason primary education is the next target of human husbandry--captive populations society is willing to pay to support.  And, as usual, the agenda is justified by the "needs" of the victims.  That's why empathy for the victims brings about no permanent change.  Deny the deprivators one population to exploit and they'll just find another.  It's the deprivators' behavior that has to be targeted for termination.

        by hannah on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 02:26:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well said and when we consider the battle over (0+ / 0-)

          repealing or amending child labor laws in Maine to allow paying anyone under 20 $5.25 an hour instead of the minimum wage...letting them work 24 hrs a week and increase the hours on school nights to 11:00 pm.

          Hell if a kid is still in high school at 20 he shouldn't be working at all and studying his butt off.  If he/she graduates at 18, they're still considered "children " under this legislation until they reach 21.  LePage is an ALEC Alum and is walking the walk prepared by them.  This creates another cheap workforce for the corporations who are getting their taxes cut by LePage again in this budget.

          Too many of us have become complacent and let these people slowly lasso our society and now only when they begin to tighten the loop do we even realize we've been roped in by them.  Woulda' been better to have ducked in the first place and avoid the arguments of today altogether!

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 03:13:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not sure anyone anticipated that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bob Sloan

            the paper dollar would provide a shield behind which the discriminatory practices of the past could be continued even more effectively with hardly any notice as to who was pulling the strings.  
            Hardly anyone anticipated that the response to demands for equality would be that everyone but the elect would be equally deprived of their natural rights and that their civil rights could be effectively stripped by legal means.

            When the law is used as an instrument of subjugation, the rule of law is more immutable and unyielding than the caprice of a flesh and blood tyrant whose head can be offed.  And the law leaves no finger-prints.


            by hannah on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 04:40:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks, Bob. (10+ / 0-)

    Diary is aces.  An important contribution on the nexus of race, class and capitalist profiteering.  

    In 1979 Congress passed the Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP) as part of the Justice System Improvement Act.  PIECP was a new federal law allowing private corporations access to prison labor by allowing partnerships between those private manufacturers and state prison industries.  The Bill titled Justice System Improvement Act, was introduced in the Senate by Senator Edward Kennedy and had 12 co-sponsors:

    Sen Baker, Howard H., Jr. [TN] - 1/3/1979
    Sen Baucus, Max [MT] - 1/3/1979
    Sen Bayh, Birch [IN] - 1/3/1979
    Sen Cochran, Thad [MS] - 1/3/1979
    Sen DeConcini, Dennis [AZ] - 1/3/1979
    Sen Dole, Robert J. [KS] - 1/3/1979
    Sen Glenn, John H., Jr. [OH] - 1/3/1979
    Sen Hatch, Orrin G. [UT] - 1/3/1979
    Sen Javits, Jacob K. [NY] - 1/3/1979
    Sen Laxalt, Paul D. [NV] - 1/3/1979
    Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT] - 1/3/1979
    Sen Thurmond, Strom [SC] - 1/3/1979

    A companion bill with the same title was introduced in the U.S. House by Rep. Peter W. Rodino, Jr. and there were two co-sponsors:
    Rep Mazzoli, Romano L. [KY-3] - 1/3/1979
    Rep McClory, Robert [IL-13] - 1/3/1979

    This legislation originally had nothing in it pertaining to the production of prison made goods, a program to allow corporations to partner with prison industries to use inmate labor or shipping of those goods across state lines.  That part of the Justice System Improvement Act did not surface until well into the legislative discussion on the Bills.  In May of 1979 the first mention of such a program was introduced into the legislation.

    Can you elaborate a bit more on this?  I know you mentioned that "liberal lion" Ted Kennedy originally introduced the act.  Do you know if he had any hand in introducing the elements related to the exploitation of prison labor?  Exactly which lawmakers crafted this part of the legislation?

    "Every Social-Democrat knows perfectly well that under capitalism the most democratic republic leads merely to the bribery of the officials by the bourgeoisie and to an alliance between the Stock Exchange and the government." Lenin, 1916

    by GiveNoQuarter on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:23:06 PM PDT

  •  This diary reminds me of those I found here when (28+ / 0-)

    I first discovered Dkos - and why I kept coming back (I sometimes think I now come back mostly out of habit).  It's well written, well researched, and jam packed with information we're unlikely to get anywhere else.  Hope you do more like this.  (You're going to be my first followed person, BTW.  I haven't felt the need to do that yet, but I don't want to miss anything more you might post.)

    "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

    by gustynpip on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:20:55 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for the kind words. Great reward for all (14+ / 0-)

      the time and research I put into the diaries.  For more on similar issues involving prison, ALEC and the exploitation of prisoners visit the link to my previous diaries.  Lots of info on the corporations and such.  Come back often and stay in the conversation...

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:29:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I will go to some of your other diaries. I have (9+ / 0-)

        read a couple of excellent ones on Dkos, and suspect you were probably the author.  

        I've seen some of what you discuss, both on a professional level and because of family members, and so what you write resonates strongly.  Your information explains so much that never seemed to make sense before.  Such as the lack of interest in ANY efforts at rehabilitation.  Why would the powers that be want anyone rehabilitated when it would simply mean one less cheap employee?  Why the release people in a manner that nearly guarantees they'll return - without money, without resources, without assistance, without anything except unreasonable and unrealistic demands being made by their probation or parole officers.  

        Right now, there's a sense of - but what's the use of the information - the powers that be will permit no changes.  But information can be a powerful thing, and if it can reach enough people, it can force change.  I'm just not sure how we get it to enough people who care enough to start fighting for changes.  They've chosen the least powerful, the most vulnerable, as their victims.  They've vilified them to the point no one considers them worthy of being considered human, hardly, much less worthy of fighting for.  It does seem insurmountable.

        "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

        by gustynpip on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:41:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Don't lose hope, gustynpip...there are many of (15+ / 0-)

          us working on these issues from a journalistic, legal and activist POV.  Most are quietly gathering information, doing research and bending the ears of state lawmakers - on the Dem side of the Assemblies.

          I've been asked to participate at the April 28-29 Anti Alec rally in Cincy.  They've scheduled my presentation for early morning on the 29th...on prison privatization, industry and the laws that have been used to imprison some and take the jobs of others.

          Your assessment that it will be difficult is well on point.  The DOJ is deeply, deeply involved in enabling this pursuit of slave labor by corporations.  Check out this "recruiting" video put out by the DOJ in conjunction with the NCIA.  This is only one of the many videos they have disseminated in their efforts of moving manufacturing from the private sector to prison labor.  If you notice, there is no discussion about "training" of the inmates, but much on reducing overhead and increasing profits...

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 05:21:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  We have congressional elections every (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bob Sloan

          two years.  If we start controlling who gets nominated and what issues they are committed to, we can make a change.  But, keep in mind that there are power-obsessed critters on Capitol Hill and they don't take kindly to newcomers who fail to go along with the traditional agenda.  Sending progressives to Capitol Hill does no good, if they get derailed by the good old boys.

          by hannah on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 02:33:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'm with gustynpop! (11+ / 0-)

    I've lurked a long time on DK, and as for figuring out version 4, I never figured out version 3!  But I'm going to follow you, Mr. Sloan, because I've read all your stuff on prison industries, and I hope you keep going.

  •  I was thinking today (9+ / 0-)

    about all the horrible things that have been happening. Things like what's happening to the Detroit School system and in Benton Harbor.

    Similar bad things are happening where I live -- children being warehoused in increasingly overcrowded school, science education downgraded -- and all of being done with fake smile and a fiendish lie. "We all have to make sacrifices for the sake of the children," they say with a not quite covered up smirk on their faces.

    I was trying to relate it to any time I've lived through or my parents had lived through and I couldn't and then it struck me that you would have to go back to the end of Reconstruction to find a parallel to what is happening today.

    I don't see how it can have the same outcome, though, if only because of the ongoing demographic shift.  But I'm afraid it's going to have a bad outcome.

    "I wish I loved the human race. I wish I loved its [venal] face." ~ [apologies to] Sir Walter Raleigh

    by houyhnhnm on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:38:28 PM PDT

    •  I have the same feeling as you. Education is (14+ / 0-)

      taking it on the chin - and has been for years now with more and more cuts to funding.  This pursuit has been led by Republicans and I can only offer my personal opinion as to why...

      I've come to the conclusion that if they continue to cut education the same thing that has happened over the past decade or more will continue; drops in attendance, overcrowded classes, loss of teachers through financial attrition affecting wages, poor grades and a slide in the educational standards of the U.S. overall.

      I really think that the reasoning behind this is to lessen the education of children of the middle and lower classes, with the purpose of slowly eliminating public education altogether.  This push by Conservatives for a "voucher" system reinforces this as a possibility.  If it keeps on only the more affluent will be able to afford to send their children to school.  When that happens only the wealthier among us will have children with any real education and thus the ability to secure employment.

      This would guarantee a few generations of control of business by a couple of handfuls of individual families.  A new way of creating a dynasty.  Guess if their kids can't be as smart as ours, they intend to dumb ours down and create a level playing field...

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:52:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And the real tragedy of this (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bob Sloan, elwior, northsylvania, Matt Z

        is that this push against private education also comes from Democrats and supposed but misguided do-gooders like Bill Gates and Eli Broad.

        The GOP: "You can always go to the Emergency Room."

        by Upper West on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:31:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Some Dems are also conservative and have (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, northsylvania

          sadly been introduced to and swayed by the kool-aid.  Bill Gates is a different story.  His company uses prison labor to package Microsoft software and other components in Washington State at the State Reformatory.  This labor is provided to a sub-contractor that has the Microsoft contract.  This way they try and hide that part of their involvement.  They also bring in workers from India on special visas to work on their IT and other technology and pay them near minimum wage to avoid paying U.S. workers what the job's really worth.  I'm mostly in the dark and thus unfamiliar with the activities of Eli Broad.

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:52:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  qwerty (0+ / 0-)

            "They also bring in workers from India on special visas to work on their IT and other technology and pay them near minimum wage"

            If Microsoft paid minimum wage for the temporary work visas in question (H-1B etc), Bill gates would be behind bars notwithstanding his tens of billions of net worth. FYI, there are laws, which are nowadays enforced quite strictly, which stipulate that the employers must pay prevailing market wages (or higher) to people that work on those work visas.

            Dirt poor people anywhere on the planet should not have to remain dirt poor forever.

            by iceweasel on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 06:27:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree with you that there are specific (0+ / 0-)

              conditions, requirements and restrictions placed upon these visas issued for foreign workers coming here to work.

              There are similar conditions and "mandatory requirements" attached to the Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program:

              Mandatory Criteria for Program Participation
              Eligible jurisdictions that apply to participate in the PIE Certification Program must meet all nine of the following criteria:
              1. Legislative authority to involve the private sector in the production and sale of prison-made goods, and administrative authority to ensure that mandatory program criteria will be met through internal policies and procedures.
              2. Legislative authority to pay wages at a rate not less than that paid for similar work in the same locality’s private sector.
              3. Written assurances that the PIE Certification Program will not result in the displacement of workers employed before program implementation.
              4. Authority to provide worker benefits, including workers’ compensation or its equivalent.
              5. Legislative or administrative authority to take deductions not to exceed 80 percent of gross wages for room and board; taxes (federal, state, local); allocations for support of family pursuant to state statute, court order, or agreement by offender; and contributions of not more than 20 percent, but not less than 5 percent of gross wages to any fund established by law to compensate the victims of crime.
              6. Written assurances that inmate participation is voluntary.
              7. Written proof of consultation with related organized labor before PIE Certification Program startup.
              8. Written proof of consultation with related local private industry before PIE Certification Program startup.
              9. Compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and related federal environmental review requirements.
               It is up to the Department of Justice to enforce these requirements and in cases of non-compliance, to prosecute violations.  There are continuing violations of these nine criteria and in only one case did the feds actually prosecute - since 1979.

              Here are two links demonstrating the lack of enforcement. Lufkin, Texas, Montana.  In both cases the inmates were being paid less than legal, did not contact competing companies and did not contact labor.  All three render any products made and shipped to federal prosecution, 2 years in prison and a $50,000.00 fine for violations.  Though these were high profile cases making the news, the DOJ did not pursue any prosecution.

              PIE Program oversight was outsourced and serves as a cut-out to allow the violators to continue to not pay prevailing wages, not contact potential competing private sector manufacturers and not contact local union and labor groups prior to starting operations.  Any of these violations require prosecution if a product made by prisoners is shipped across a state line in interstate commerce...yet it happens daily with no prosecution.

              In the case of H1B and similar work visa programs, who do you think is required to prosecute for violations?  Our DOJ.  I have communicated with many MS employees and former workers who provided this information I stated and you refer to.  They don't understand the lack of enforcement either.  Several of us have filed reports with the F.B.I. upon advice from the DOJ on these issues.  Every case has disappeared into the vast maw of the DOJ to never be heard from again.

              This is why I am so negative about the DOJ's complicity in all of this.  If you think they would take on MS and Gates in a head to head battle over underpaying those working on H1B visas, I believe you are mistaken.

              "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

              by Bob Sloan on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:46:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  I become enraged at the "WE" (7+ / 0-)

      part.  We all make sacrifices for our children's sake.  NO! Those who say that grab what they can at the expense of children.

      The only people sacrificing when education gets cut are the kids.  Particularly the poor kids.

  •  Thanks Bob, looks like we just can't quit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    slavery especially for Black people. Please let me know when the class war starts so I can show up.

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear and loathing.

    by a2nite on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 04:47:35 PM PDT

  •  Well, that spells it out pretty clearly! (11+ / 0-)

    I'm just a few paragraphs into the link to The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement

    This essay is based on the belief that the truth of an idea is not the primary reason for its acceptance. Far more important is the energy and dedication of the idea's promoters.....conservatives have failed to devote the proper amount of energy to developing an alternative cultural world-view opposed to the dominant leftist one. They have instead devoted much of their energy to electing sympathetic politicians and lobbying the government to pass or overturn particular laws.....There will be three main stages in the unfolding of this movement. The first stage will be devoted to the development of a highly motivated elite able to coordinate future activities. The second stage will be devoted to the development of institutions designed to make an impact on the wider elite and a relatively small minority of the masses. The third stage will involve changing the overall character of American popular culture....Our movement will be entirely destructive, and entirely constructive. We will not try to reform the existing institutions. We only intend to weaken them, and eventually destroy them. We will endeavor to knock our opponents off-balance and unsettle them at every opportunity. All of our constructive energies will be dedicated to the creation of our own institutions.....We will maintain a constant barrage of criticism against the Left. We will attack the very legitimacy of the Left. We will not give them a moment's rest.

    That whole piece is some serious required reading - and a wake-up call that there is a whooooole bunch of work we should have been doing, and need to be doing.

  •  Mr. Sloan, thank you for sharing your knowledge (8+ / 0-)

    and experience. This is a diary worthy of national publication.  

  •  So what's new? (4+ / 0-)

    Great work, Bob!

    Save Troy Davis! Go to and let your voice be heard. Please!

    by JoanMar on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 06:26:40 PM PDT

  •  Any of you people (0+ / 0-)

    hire people coming out of prison?
    Armed robbers?

    If so let me know, cause I have a caseload of them in MN begging for a chance?

    Not much to put on your resume after 5-20 years in the joint.

    I mean we can wait to change the laws but in the mean time in between time, real people need real jobs and can't really be concerned with these lofty ideas.

    Watching peoples political dreams crash on the rocks of political reality is fun to me.

    by mim5677 on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 07:15:09 PM PDT

    •  The easiest and most effective (0+ / 0-)

      way to slow this down is by hiring people for work.  This is a very top down approach.

      Start at the bottom by giving these men and women jobs and it will spread to their families and on to their families families.

      You don't need a study to put that together.  

      Watching peoples political dreams crash on the rocks of political reality is fun to me.

      by mim5677 on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 07:17:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How do you propose to do this without first (5+ / 0-)

        changing the attitude of those doing the hiring?  If we don't do something to make others begin to want to hire the guys you work with in pre-release, those men will get out and run into the same employment brick wall that has always stood in the way of released cons.

        By drawing attention to what has happened to cause so many to be in prison and how these people are exploited while incarcerated, I and others hope to provide others with the thought that maybe some should be given a new chance at being a productive citizen.

        For years you and others have been working day in and day out to find jobs for those getting out.  Is your job getting any easier?  Have the percentages of those hired gone up, down or remained static?  What are you doing to change the attitude of prospective employers in the Minn. area?

        And a more important question you should be asking is this: of all the corporations involved in partnerships with prison many of them hire the inmates once they are released?  I'm betting you don't know that statistic and will be sadly surprised when you find it.

        Ask around among the inmates working in the industry - the industry staff and company reps working with the inmates and pose that question.  Then ask them why all inmates working for the private companies aren't hired when released?  Let me know what you find out.

        "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

        by Bob Sloan on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 07:39:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Employers (0+ / 0-)

          aren't interested in that.  

          We've actually been doing pretty well.

          I don't really care if the people that provide the contracts on the inside give them jobs upon release and niether to the people I work with.  Shit they would have to want to sew lunch boxes together for a living.  Many of them want to get back to doing what they did or use the skills they did get to do anything.

          It's like if you are in federal prison doing work for a company in MN, are you going to stay in MN?  No, you are going back home and you have no idea whether the business is there or not.  

          I mean come on, some of these things you are asking me wouldn't happen anyway.  These people have complicated lives that they are often waiting to get back to, especially if they are only doing 5 year terms.

          The only question I think I should ask is whether you hire people with criminal backgrounds.  I don't have time for this high level stuff, I just don't

          Watching peoples political dreams crash on the rocks of political reality is fun to me.

          by mim5677 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 06:18:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Hey mim5677 see you dropped in to take (7+ / 0-)

      part in another discussion on a related prison labor issue.  Wanted to let you know that I retained  the employ of a researcher for my project.  He happens to be a former convict from Florida that did time for participating in an auto theft ring.  He did 9 straight up, got out and began doing legal research for one of the biggest firms in Florida - Fowler White.  That was 23 years ago and he's been clean since.

      So yes, some of us do hire ex-offenders when possible and practicable.  I understand your frustration because I know there are no jobs available for ex-offenders.  With the long lines at unemployment and 300 or more people showing up for one advertised job, employers have little desire to put a former prisoner to work when there are so many without a record applying for the same position.

      I'm trying to urge people to go to work stopping these lawmakers from enacting more laws to put more people in prison, make them stay longer and allow them to work making products that compete with private sector markets.  I know we have opposing views on some issues, but why degrade this issue and those commenting when we're trying to find a way to stop this mass incarceration and actually change laws to release many more?  I would think you would support that kind of initiative.  If you don't, let me know why not...

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 07:26:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I appreciate it Bob (0+ / 0-)

        I hope you don't look at it as a high jacking.  You know more about this type of thing than I do but you sir are the exception, when it comes to the hiring.    

        The wheels of politics grind very slowly especially on something like this as you know and the people we work with are in emergency situations with very immediate needs.

        I do support it but I literally can't spend time on politicians, if I could I would but I have to write 10 resumes and figure out how to convince some lady that a person with a rare disability who served lots of time for murder would be a good fit for their place of business.  I'll come across less hostile next time.  

        This is a good thing but you know that the people we are talking about don't have time to wait for stuff like this.  Just the other side, not mean to take away, sorry.

        Watching peoples political dreams crash on the rocks of political reality is fun to me.

        by mim5677 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 06:09:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I understand your position, job and frustration (0+ / 0-)

          with attempting to find a way to get these released men employment.  This is part and parcel of the problem, mim5677.  Companies that "provide" jobs for inmates while they're in, do so not out of some civic duty - though many say that's why they're partnered with PI's - they do it because the cost of manufacturing is seriously reduced.

          When an inmate is released, it doesn't matter how good of a worker he/she is, the company won't employ them on the outside because of the wage requirements.  It is cheaper to use the inmate on the inside who takes their place when they leave.  That is why the company chose that process in the first place.

          What we have to do in order to have jobs available for exiting cons, is to reduce the partnerships that put civilian jobs behind bars in the first place.  That removes potential jobs from the markets that inmates could apply for when released.  In our previous discussions on this particular issue, I think we both realized that there are products that can be made by prisoners, machines operated and experience learned without doing it to compete openly against the private sector.  Products for use by prisons, state agencies and departments; furniture, soap, hygiene products, modular office components, seating, printing...and the list goes on.  All of these could be made without these "partnerships" between companies and PI's that concentrate on market share, profits and keeping overhead to a minimum.

          Again, as I indicated previously...if this program run by the DOJ wasn't based upon profit to the corporations and PI's, then why don't they enforce the provision that allows 40% of the worker's pay to be deducted to reimburse taxpayers for incarceration?  Instead they allow the money to be kept by - or returned to - the prison industries.  Here is a linkto how they're doing it in Minn. now and have been for years.  So not only are the prisoners exploited (low wages and 40% of that taken back to offset operating expenses) the taxpayers are not getting a fair shake as well.

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:00:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Wow. Callous, short-sighted and holier than thou (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Sloan, Larsstephens, elwior, Matt Z

      Perhaps there would be more work on the outside if so much free labor wasn't available in prison.  

      •  Short sighted indeed (0+ / 0-)

        I have no choice.  The people that are coming out of prison, don't want to go back, so while you call your congressmen, they are looking for work, lots of work, lots of interviews, lots of rejections, for $7.25 an hour.

        Do you know how fast I would get fired from my job if I didn't appreciate the immediate needs of the people I work with?  No you don't know.

        Do you have the power to hire anyone, much less a person who has been in prison?  Have you ever helped someone find a job who has been to prison?

        Watching peoples political dreams crash on the rocks of political reality is fun to me.

        by mim5677 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 06:13:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens, elwior, Matt Z

    ...about an under-reported, ugly practice. Tipped and rec'd with much enthusiasm.

    One tiny quibble because I'm a word junkie: The opening sentence's use of the word "indigenous". The opening sentence was correct; this does happen. However, the first paragraph seems to read as saying that the slave population was the indigenous population, but in the US, the indigenous population means the Native Americans.

    Thanks for a great, educational diary. I earned a few things, and I can never get enough of that!

    The fundamental delusion of humanity is to suppose that I am here and you are out there. - Yasutani Roshi

    by lotusmaglite on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 08:01:06 PM PDT

    •  Thanks and quibble understood. I should have (5+ / 0-)

      taken better care of explaining that by indigenous I was referring to in those countries such as China, Russia and European countries where such slave trade or practice took advantage of the native people of the region.

      Thanks for the tip and rec'd it is appreciated.  If you get time look at my other diaries for similarly related issues.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 08:11:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Will do (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bob Sloan, elwior, Matt Z

        After rereading that paragraph a few times, I got the sense you meant. And then thinking about it, it didn't make sense that such a well-researched and well-thought-out diary would make such a mistake, so I imagine most people didn't read it the way I first did.

        Again, thanks for writing this. It bothers me sometimes that people (including me) actually apologize for the length of their diaries. Sometimes, substance takes an investment. Glad you made one.

        The fundamental delusion of humanity is to suppose that I am here and you are out there. - Yasutani Roshi

        by lotusmaglite on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:34:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks again. Please stay involved in these (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, Matt Z

          matters.  I know it is difficult to try explaining just how all this developed and convincing them that there really is a central cabal out here among us that are performing exactly as the "Wizard" did in Oz.  Since most can't see them, they don't believe it's possible...and that is how this has been planned and worked for a generation now.  Really, I find it difficult to comprehend how all of this was hidden from us for an entire generation - but it was and now much of that generation resides behind bars because we weren't paying attention.

          I was as guilty as everyone else by being close to this and not taking the time to really investigate and research what was right there.  I saw the little signs and symptoms and didn't interpret them until it was nearly too late.  My diaries are my way of trying to make that up to those who could have been saved if I'd taken the time earlier in my life - instead of working hard and concentrating on my own needs.  Lesson learned, so even us old dogs can still be taught a thing or two :)

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:47:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  WE need to stop prison slavery by reducing the (6+ / 0-)

    number of offenses that are basis for increasing prison and slave labor pools. We already incarcerate more then most despots .  If they can find a way to delineate who they want to imprison  then all they have to do is continue to pass laws to lock em up and make em work for their new owners.

    It may require an amendment but for all our sakes it is important to stop the pro-slavers.

    Fear is the Mind Killer

    by boophus on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 08:53:06 PM PDT

    •  I agree with you. This is what I've been saying (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peachcreek, elwior

      for several years about the way ALEC and the corporations have pushed for laws that specifically imprisons more people, then provides corporate access to those prisoners for housing them and working them for additional profit.

      There is no way any corporation in the world is going to base their business upon a "product" that will cease to exist if the corporation fulfills their contracted duties of reducing the number of products.  The way CCA and Geo go after more and more contracts and have built several prisons that are considered "speculative" tells me they have no intention of incarceration rates ever decreasing to any degree.  Just to be sure they've expanded their immigration detention operation as well.  This is why the appointment of Stacia Hylton as Director of the U.S. Marshal's Service last year by President Obama was so critically opposed by many of us.  She was a former federal Detention Trustee and in that position she funneled many federal prisoners to Geo Group that had contracts with the feds for housing prisoners.  Once she left the feds, she opened her own business consulting for Geo Group, received $125,000.00 for them in fees then was chosen by the President for the Marshal's slot.  She was confirmed and now many of us are holding our breaths and sending out FOIA requests to monitor her activities.

      They have the only game in town where prisoners are concerned - and own the damn refs as well :(

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:26:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Best diary I've seen in a long time - (5+ / 0-)

    You nailed it.  Front page this.

    One thing to keep in mind as well is that many of these "workers" don't receive worker's comp or adequate health care if they are injured on-site.  I've spoken to a number of inmates seeking to bring worker's comp and tort claims against prison employers because they've been injured on the job.  


    •  Good point and I have written about inmates (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mswsm, elwior, Matt Z

      being injured while working in PIECP facilities and treated by the prison medical staff instead of through work comp doctors.  The state has a duty to the inmate to care for him/her if/when an injury or illness occurs.  Since they subsidize the corporations by providing taxpayer built facilities on annual leases of as little as $1.00 and also pay for the utilities necessary for manufacturing with tax dollars, I guess they figure in for a penny in for a pound and throw in the medical care as a freebie.  My research has shown there have never been more than a handful of work comp claims filed for prisoner injuries received on the job.

      Many of the work comp policies they are required to have cost them next to nothing because they have never filed a claim and the insurance carrier is made aware that in case of any injury, the prison medical staff will treat the injury at no cost and no claim ever filed.  As I've indicated, they have most bases covered in a way that costs them little while the taxpayer pays through the nose in subsidies.

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:33:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank You Bob Sloan (7+ / 0-)

    I intend to go and read your past Diaries, studiously.
    I intend to share them with my Brownskinned Sons.
    I intend to wake up and pay more attention.
    Thank you, Sir.

    •  No need for thanks if my writings help you to (5+ / 0-)

      explain to your children the need to avoid any situation that places them in danger of becoming one of the statistics I write about week by week with a sad heart.

      You can help further by telling others in the community how these mechanisms have been put into place to exploit minorities in order to profit from that exploitation.

      Sad affair and hopefully between all of us we can work to change all this.  One can only hope and work hard at it...

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:37:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My Sons (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, northsylvania, Matt Z

        Are both grown Men. I've taught them the best I could.
        But this work that you do and have done needs to be seen by them and their Sons and Daughters, and yes, those of us in Our Communities.
        Con Tu Permisso, I intend to to share these truths, these well documented FACTS, with as many who will listen and read them. Then they can share them as well, and so on.
        Again, I thank you Sir.

        •  Thanks again. This is as it should be - we (0+ / 0-)

          looking out for the next generation, keeping them safe and aware of their surroundings and the evil that lurks in the hearts of some.  I think if my generation had of been attentive to these manipulations, it would have saved a lot of heartache experienced by those now sitting behind bars and their families and loved ones awaiting their release.

          You're a good Mother and Grandmother to look after your family in this way.

          "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

          by Bob Sloan on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:04:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Their actions have been totally under the radar. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, northsylvania, Matt Z, Bob Sloan

    Thank you so much for this well-researched and powerful expose.  Even with the compassion fatigue I have from outrage upon outrage, this one really gets to me.

  •  My apologies if I missed the link to the (0+ / 0-)

    Cincinnati Rally on April 28th and 29th?  (Rushing through diaries before heading out this morning) Is there more info on this?  I could attend.

    Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

    by bkamr on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 03:53:45 AM PDT

    •  Great. I posted the link in one of the comments (0+ / 0-)

      and forgot to put it in the diary - my bad.  Here is the linkto the site.  Hope to see you there.  I'm scheduled to speak on the 29th from 8:30 to 9:50 at the Interfaith Workers Center, 1235 Vine Street in the Back Room.  Hope to see you then!

      "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

      by Bob Sloan on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:08:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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