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1
Hey Brendan. Let me also direct you to the eye-opening (and award-winning) 8-part series from the Times-Pic last year, Louisiana Incarcerated.

http://www.nola.com/prisons
Posted by Nabokov's Nose on February 14, 2013 at 2:46 PM · Report this
Ballard Pimp 2
Americans hate history, which is why we are condemned to repeat the inhumanity of our errors. Most states have constitutional provisions which prohibit the hiring out of convict labor; in some states those provisions are under attack. Being ignorant of their own history, legislators examine the money-making possibilities. After the Civil War several Southern states chose to contract out convict labor with the contractor being responsible for the care of the convicts. Conditions were so bad that of about 5,000 men given sentences of ten years or more between 1880 and 1900, not a single one in Alabama survived to complete his sentence. The Alabama prison system was studied by several German penologists and became the model for labor camps like Dachau. It seems that we are on our way back there.
Posted by Ballard Pimp on February 14, 2013 at 2:59 PM · Report this
wisepunk 3
I added this to the reading list, but I was fascinated for a moment with all the adverts for porn. I guess there is no wifi in jail.
Posted by wisepunk on February 14, 2013 at 3:24 PM · Report this
geoff teardrop 4
@3 me too!

"....huh, makes sense i guess"

Posted by geoff teardrop http://twitter.com/wipess on February 14, 2013 at 3:50 PM · Report this
skidmark 5
Here in Washington where prison labor isn't supposed to compete with private labor. The State graciously built an aluminum fabrication shop on the prison grounds out near Spokane, I can't recall the name of the prison. Where the prisoners did fabrication work which mostly supplied the brewery industry.

Over here in the civilized part of the state, prisoners have done software packaging.
Posted by skidmark on February 14, 2013 at 3:53 PM · Report this
8
@5 there's a fine line between exploiting prisoners and rehabilitation.

We want prisoners to learn a trade that will lead to employment on the outside. We want them to develop a work ethic. Above all, we want prisoners doing something productive with their time behind bars rather than simply rotting. Otherwise we end up dealing with recidivism problems.

Education is all fine and dandy, but there's only so much you can do with a GED and a felony on your record. A shot at a second chance requires real work experience.

That being said, if the labor of prisoners is being used by private corporations, then they ought to be paid the prevailing wages they'd make on the open market. From that, in addition to taxes, I think it would be fair to deduct an appropriate amount for room and board and restitution. Child support (if any) should also be paid. Of the rest, some should be set aside as savings for when the prisoner is released and a small amount can be spent while behind bars.

In other words, pay them what their work is worth and teach them how to make an honest living.
Posted by Corydon on February 14, 2013 at 11:53 PM · Report this

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