How a corporation can be identified as participating in the use of prison slave labor.
Three “categories” of those involved in prison slave labor and prison industry slave operations:
1. corporations, businesses and companies that use direct inmate labor for manufacturing and service jobs,
2. corporations, businesses and companies that contract with other companies to purchase products or services made by inmate labor (such as McDonalds), and,
3. individuals, corporations, organizations and investment companies that support the use of prison labor or enable prison industry operations by contributing financial support to those directly involved in using inmates for labor or invest in or support private prison corporations.
Corporations have turned the judicial system into a money maker primarily for the wealthy and elite. One reporter has noted that the prisons cost “$80 billion eclipses the GDP of 133 nations”. The $80 billion figure comes from a report published last year by the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution.
Of the $80 billion spent on supervision, confinement, and rehabilitation for those convicted and accused, only 10 percent came from the federal government. The majority (57 percent) of the funds were spent by state governments, while the remaining 33 percent came from local governments. The report’s total of $80 billion is in 2010 dollars, which is estimated $90 billion in today’s dollars. These are dollars that are being siphoned from tax payer pockets to corporations bank accounts.
The ability to change the current trend of “profits over humans” through the voting mechanism alone , or the courts is no longer viable. Each time there is a small victory in this model, another back door is opened through the same process to keep the profit industry of the judicial system rolling. We have a political system that allows corporate lobbyists to write legislation, which in turn is made into law by politicians whose campaigns were financed or supported by these lobbyists. The citizens who fight and win battles on the behalf of the prison class, often find themselves fighting the same battles repackaged under different titles.
Historically speaking these corporations involvement in the judicial system through a constitutional channel goes back to the ratification of the 13th amendment. The “exception” clause removed the right to own those enslaved from private ownership. This entire amendment was in response to blacks in America push for freedom and independence. It is no small wonder that soon after the passage of the 13th amendment, states with no penitentiaries built one.
Specific criminal laws were designed and passed that recaptured these blacks back into a cycle of enslavement. From this point on it was cemented that politicians and law enforcement controlled the slave market. Corporations entered the picture with clear intentions to control and monoply these public offices.
In 1938 we note the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that established minimum wage guarantees. This act did not apply to prisoners who are not considered employees. Then what are prisoners considered as, who work known companies for long hours in prisons? (13th exception).
In 1979 corporations lobbyists had congress enact the “Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program”. This act explicitly allowed and encouraged u.s companies to use prison labor.
Fast forward to the largest private prisons owners. The stocks of the two biggest private prison operators — CoreCivic (formerly know as Corrections Corp. of America) and Geo Group — have doubled since election day. CoreCivic (CXW) is up 140% since Trump won in November; Geo Group (GEO) has risen 98%
Prisoners are the commodities.
Its not just private prison companies profiting. Currently the Prison Industrial Slave Complex (PISC) is estimated to house 2.5 million. We should overstand this does not include other aspects of the PISC– probation, parole, treatment programs, immigration, youth facilities and black sites. As you can see the numbers should be astronomical. Every fiber of the American economy is one way or another connected to the PISC. America is so dependent on slavery that it is like the south before the civil war. From this we acknowledge a prison class has been created in this society. It includes any humans that have been convicted of a crime. The only way out of this class is expungement of arrests from the record.
People in society and the prisons have been fighting back. In our recent history significant prison strike events was December 9, 2010 Georgia prison strike; July 8, 2013 California Hunger strike; September 9, 2016 National Prisoners work strike; August 19, 2017 National Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March (organized by prisoners with an outside committee); and the developing December 15, 2017 Florida prison work strike.
Inside the prisons is where each of these strikes brewed. Prisoners have organized themselves similar to the days of the Harriet Tubman underground railroad. These modern day freedom fighters are going up against vicious giants. All they have in defense are pebbles. What are the names of a few of these freedom fighters organizations that have been formed by prisoners? Amend the 13th, Free Alabama Movement, Millions for Prisoners Human Right Coalition, Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, George Jackson University, Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee. I maybe missing others but these are the ones that come immediately to mind.
Yes, there are a few other organizations that started with prisoners, but prisoners no longer have organizing control. Yet, we should continue to support their work.
We do acknowledge, these recent rebellions and strikes have not dented the Prison Industrial Slave Complex profits. Its definitely time to push this Human Rights movement harder. We must push harder with economic boycotts and divestments. This has become more and more apparent by many of us organizing as prisoners. Strikes are fine for short term goals, but they are not the total solution. We must incorporate economic warfare against the very corporations that are exploiting our existence as poor convicted humans.
The ‘Poor People’s Campaign From Inside‘ aims to do just that. Our communications to the public will be by way of general mail and collect calls only. We have appointed an outside liaison. Name will be forthcoming.
We must be bold in this battle, trust each other, never lose faith and hope. There were those before us that fought similar challenges. They over came. Now it is our time once again to force humanity to take another leap.
We resist because we must! #ppcampaigninside