Prison Labor as Modern Day Slavery by Lisa Wade, PhD at Sociological Images
Graduate student Christopher Petrella, currently writing a book called The Color of Corporate Corrections, describes this as “modern day slavery.” In short, the U.S. disproportionately imprisons the same demographic population that elite whites once enslaved. That population did work to enrich the elites. Today, in correctional facilities, they continue to enrich white elites. Their labor is low paid and involuntary, by any meaningful definition of the word.
Tracing the racializing logic of private prisons and the prison labor industry, Petrella finds that these practices are disproportionately found in formerly Confederate states…
When prisoners are in state and federal prisons, the U.S. taxpayer is subsidizing low wages and corporate profits, since they are paying for prisoners’ room, board, and health care. When prisoners are in private prisons, prison labor is a way to make more money off of the human beings caught in the corrections industry. In other words, prison labor is an efficient way for corporations to continue to increase their profits without sharing those gains with their employees.
for a list of companies that rely on prison labor see Prison Labor Exposed at the Prison Movement’s Weblog