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Brilliant.  Companies get cheap, reliable labor.  Prisoners get something to do.  Prisoners wages pay for their stay in jail.  Jail personnel get paid well.  The Prison Industry is a kinetic industry.  No wonder manufacturers are moving back to the US of A.

The following is a quick overview with some specific examples of where the prison industry stands today.  You can almost hear the money clinking in the background.

The War on Drugs launched Prison Privatization in the 1980s.

The 1980s, though, ushered in a new era of prison privatization. With a burgeoning prison population resulting from the “war on drugs” and increased use of incarceration, prison overcrowding and rising costs became increasingly problematic for local, state, and federal governments. In response to this expanding criminal justice system, private business interests saw an opportunity for expansion, and consequently, private-sector involvement in prisons moved from the simple contracting of services to contracting for the complete management and operation of entire prisons.

The modern private prison business first emerged and established itself publicly in 1984 when the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) was awarded a contract to take over a facility in Hamilton County, Tennessee. This marked the first time that any government in the country had contracted out the complete operation of a jail to a private operator.

Federal Prison Industries, also known as UNICOR and FPI, is a wholly owned government corporation created in 1934 by statute and Executive Order that produces goods and services from the labor of inmates of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons.  There are constraints on federal prison labor.

Not so for other prisons.

Legislation: PIECP originally was authorized under the Justice System Improvement Act of 1979 (Public Law 96-157, Sec. 827). The Crime Control Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-647) authorizes continuation of the program indefinitely.

States can apply for Federal Grants!

Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Technical Assistance Program FY 2011 Competitive Grant Announcement

This legislation provides exemption from federal constraints on the marketability of prisoner-made goods by permitting the sale of these products in interstate commerce (18 U.S.C. 1761(c)), the Sumners-Ashurst Act, 1948) and contracting in excess of $10,000 with the Federal Government (41 U.S.C. 35(d), the Walsh-Healey Act, 1936).
Fifty non-federal prison industry programs may be certified for this exemption when their operations have been determined by the Director, Bureau of Justice Assistance, to meet statutory and guideline requirements. Currently, there are 44 certifications that have been issued to support PIECP operations throughout the United States. In FY 2011, this program is funded through the Edward Byrne Memorial Competitive Grant Program.
Back in 2005, only 37 state and 4 county-based certified correctional industry programs operated in the United States, and these programs manage at least 175 business partnerships with private industry.

Here's how it works.  Private industry pays the State or Prison at least minimum wage (we hope) per hour for each prisoner's labor.  From that hourly wage, most of the money is distributed as follows in this 2005 example:

As of September 30, 2005, PIECP generated more than

$33 million for victims' programs,
$21 million for inmate family support,
$97.5 million for correctional institution room and board costs, and
$46.6 million in state and federal taxes. (<--that's a lot of labor!)Here's how Utah County splits up the prisoner's wage. The Utah County Sheriff's Office keeps 75%-85% of the wages earned by prisoners.  The prisoner get's 10% of the wage and MAYBE another 10% after he/she leaves the jail:

In accordance with PIECP regulations, Jail Industries distributes 20 percent of each paycheck to the inmate.

Half of that amount (10 percent) is available for his or her use for commissary items.

The other half (10 percent) is saved and given to the inmate upon release. The savings fund can be tapped prior to release only to pay court-mandated child support, to replace lost tools, or to pay fines and warrants.

The remaining 80 percent is disbursed among several entities:

<>  Utah’s Victim’s Reparation Fund (5 percent).

<>  The UCSO portion pays for inmate room and board and compensates the organization for administrative and operational costs of the program.

The Jail Industry (JI) program had been a huge success with all three participating groups: local businesses, inmate workers, and UCSO administrators.

As for Utah County Sheriff's Office (UCSO), in its nine years of operation, the JI program has produced over $5,000,000 in gross revenues.

Additionally, all inmates in the Utah County jail on misdemeanor charges have to pay-to-stay.  I think the charge is around $45/day.  More than Motel 6.

Yes, many inmates now have to pay-to-stay (example), often more than it would cost to put the inmate in a Motel 6.  Hotel Jail.

As prison privatization increases, so do the fees the inmates have to pay.  We will see this trend continue if the privatization trend continues.  Here's a brief history of Jail Fees.

Back to Onshore Prison Labor.

Do you need some business cards printed?

Call your local prison.  Many are now running printing businesses IN the big houses.  Do you think this has any negative impact on local printing businesses struggling to survive?  Well, your government offices can get their printing done at the prison, not so sure you can get your business cards printed.  Just the same, those cards you get printed locally could have been printed in you local prison.

Onshore Manufacturing - How prisons are keeping manufacturing and service businesses alive and well IN PRISONS in the USA.  10% of Americans are IN prisons, working cheaply, doing our jobs while unemployment soars for honest, people who don't break the laws of our land.  


You may be shocked to learn what your prisoners are making in your area and for whom.

Meanwhile, onshoring manufacturing/services IN prisons means that millions of Americans don't have those same jobs available in their communities.

If you are appalled by Job Off Shoring, then you can now add Job On Shoring to your list of frustrations.

The following lists the websites for prison businesses being run by State prisons. Not all states are listed.


ALEC for one.  To learn of some of the private companies using prison labor you have to read

INSOURCING - Identifying businesses involved in prison labor or supporting those who are by Bob Sloan
If corporation run government is fascism, what could be more fascist than the legalization for private corporations to have prison inmates working for them for peanuts?

In no time, if not already, prison inmates will be making school uniforms for privatized Charter Schools.  Inmates already make lots of gear for the Military Industrial Complex.  Go privatization!  What next?  GULAG America?

Below I have provided a resource for you.  A link to many states where you can find out about your State's prison industries.

This is a dark time.  We have to stop the privatization of prisons NOW!


I know, it's good to train the prisoners; however, is it good for them to be doing jobs that used to belong to the millions now under or unemployed?

Prison Labor - Onshore Jobs

Another brainstorm by Corporations to find cheap labor?  

Prison industries shackle private-sector employers

So, if you lose your job maybe you can steal a loaf of bread and go to jail to find work, a warm bed, and three massively mediocre meals prepared by prisoners at one of the new food production plants being added to prison businesses.

1979 – The Jail Doors Open for Business Carter President – Democratic Majority

Workin' for the Man - Captive Labor is fueled by the War on Drugs

Correctional Industries Association was formed to promote the establishment, development, and improvement of Correctional Industries' programs and a closer understanding and relationship between correctional industries and the general public, private industry, organized labor and other interested parties.
1996 article

Alaska Correctional Industries – Mfg. Prison Uniforms

Alabama Correctional Industries – Non-Resident Construction


With average program revenues exceeding 1.5 million annually, Industries is primarily a self-funded operation and has been described by Washington D.C. consultants as “Unique to the Nation”. This highly regulated program enables participating prisoners to earn money which goes toward reimbursing the state for their room and board expenses, as well as paying victim restitution and child support.

Our Industries Programs include: __Woodshop--MSP, MCC, CCF_Garments-- MCC, DCF_Re-upholstery--MCC_Embroidery--MCC_License Plates--BCF_Wood Harvesting--CCF_Upholstery--MSP_Engraving--MSP

New Hampshire Correctional Industries

- List of State Run Prison Businesses

Corrections Creations
Farm Shop
Furniture Shop
Information Technology
Print Shop
Sign Shop
Wood Shop

The kinds of products you might find are:
Wooden furniture, Wooden game boards, Beaded necklaces, Quilts, Paintings, and other artwork, Porcelain sculptures, Small storage bins, Upholstered furniture, Wooden toys, Hand made clocks, Serving bowls, Leather products like wallets or purses, Lots of other novelties !

Massachusetts Correctional Industries:

Rhode Island


New York

New Jersey



As the pioneer in prison labor across the nation, the State of Pennsylvania has much to tell about teaching inmates to work.


Braille Products, too.

North Carolina – Partners with Correction Enterprises

South Carolina

Prison Industries is a revenue-generated program of the South Carolina Department of Corrections. As such, PI operates like a business and all income is derived from the sale of its products and services. Profits are reinvested to improve PI and the Department of Corrections.
PI is certified by the Justice Department to enter into contracts with private sector companies and manufacture products for interstate shipment under the Prison Industries Enhancement (PIE) program. Inmates working in the PIE program receive prevailing wages for their labor. As with any job, federal and state taxes are deducted from their checks along with deductions for the inmate’s room and board and the state Victim Compensation Fund. Additional deductions are made for family support and remaining money is placed in a trust for the inmate to receive upon release.


Florida – Private, Outsourced Prison Industry

After several tumultuous years of ill-advised corporate restructuring and failed business
ventures, the private sector company that operates Florida’s prison industries program is back
on track.  Under a new Board of Directors and new management, Prison Rehabilitative
Industries and Diversified Enterprises (PRIDE) has made significant strides in recovering from
financial losses that had resulted in an accumulation of debt and core asset depletion.  In 2005,
the company achieved $72 million in sales and generated $6 million net income, the most in
dollars and as a percentage of sales in its 24-year history.


Private industry on prison grounds, expanding the sale of prisoner-made goods could double corrections' business profits

Alabama's prison industries, a $15 million-a-year business, may more than double in size if legislation soon to be introduced in Montgomery is approved.

One bill being written for the Department of Corrections would allow products produced by inmates working for 30 to 60 cents an hour - items ranging from office furniture to mattresses - to be sold to government employees and nonprofit groups. Current law limits sales to state and local governments and to schools, to limit competition with the private sector.


A captive work force

$40M prison work program helps inmates, businesses

Texas Correctional Industries:

Lockers, Truck beds,  Tire Retreading,
Soaps/Detergents, Brushes/Brooms, Custom Printing

Utah prisoners build homes

Utah Correctional Industries - Lots of OnShore Businesses in Utah Prisons.  Utah seems to have one of the most far reaching OnShore manufacturing and services industry in the nation.  It is a wonder there are any jobs in the private sector left!

Asbestos Abatement
Asphalt Crack Seal
Clothing & Uniforms
Commissary Services
Data Services
Embroidery Services
License Plates
Meat Processing
Milk & Beverage Processing
Moving Services
Office Innovations
Printing Services
Roofing Services
Seating & Upholstery
Wild Horse Program

My personal favorite, REACH.  Utah entrepreneurs and developers can hire Utah Prison Services to rehab foreclosed homes.  All to help the poor, of course.  Question:  How many poor will qualify for a mortgage?

REACH is an acronym representing REhabilitation thru Affordable Community Housing. The U.C.I. REACH Program's Mission offers a safe and secure setting to instruct inmates in residential construction, and to provide affordable housing to the community.

Qualified inmates are selected from graduates of the Salt Lake Community College and are given training in a working environment at our new Draper site facility. Inside trades include framing, roofing, sheetrock work, electrical, plumbing, painting, siding, rough and finish carpentry, flooring, and cabinet installation. Our outside crews are trained to fully prepare the site, for excavation, cement work, setting of homes, framing, roofing, siding, landscaping, and most importantly to prepare a final punch list and follow through with final finishing touches, before the tenant takes residence.

The REACH program works closely with several housing organizations throughout the State of Utah, including Utah Housing Authority, Habitat for Humanity, Six County Association of Governments, and the Community Development Association of Utah. In cooperation with the clientele, REACH generates custom designs and blue prints with the help of an inmate design team. The team consists of a project manager and drafters that work closely with experienced staff to ensure excellent customer service and quality of product. REACH strives to build to the highest standards of excellence.

Good Grief!  Of course it is nice that prisoners have something to do; however, with unemployment rates rising, is it fair for prisons to take any jobs from the private sector?

Back to Pay-to-Stay.  I wonder if they charge the mentally ill to pay-to-stay?

There around 500,000 mentally ill in jails, 10 times the number in hospitals.

Or this poor young man who lives at the Utah County Jail on and off again:


Fed should pass law limiting prison labor when unemployment exceeds 4%

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Comment Preferences

  •  Bob Sloan really opened my eyes to this. It is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus, cany, War on Error

    truly frightening. Good resource intensive diary here. T&R'd.

    Sig seen on Redstate: ABO Anybody But Obama. Sorry, I'm stealing that.... Another Barack Opportunity. Vote Obama/Biden 2012!

    by mrsgoo on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 10:53:28 PM PST

  •  That Frontline piece is devastating isn't it? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 12:39:12 AM PST

  •  I saw a documentary on PBS last night: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hannah, brae70, Tinfoil Hat, War on Error
    Slavery by Another Name is a 90-minute documentary that challenges one of Americans' most cherished assumptions: the belief that slavery in this country ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. The film tells how even as chattel slavery came to an end in 1865, thousands of African Americans were pulled back into forced labor with shocking force and brutality.
    I was appalled watching how Southerns turned a loop-hole in the 13th Amendment into another form of slavery:
    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.
    They would convict blacks of crimes (mostly trumped up), and then turn the "convicts" over to corporations to work for a fee.

    Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people. -- Eleanor Roosevelt

    by hungrycoyote on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 01:37:26 AM PST

  •  slavery never went away; we don't vote; (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error

    We don't have enough money to prevent this. This country was created 4 white supremacy & slavery.

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 03:29:20 AM PST

    •  Actually, we have all the money. The money (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      War on Error

      belongs to the people.  The value of the currency is based on the credibility of the American people.  That's why, regardless of how much we print and how much is in circulation, other peoples in other countries consider it more valuable than their own currency.  Our money is as good as our word, even when our words are sometimes bad--as when we said we'd attack Iraq and then we did.
      However, that mistake was somewhat corrected by our President when he pledged that the military would be withdrawn from Iraq and we would not retain a claim to foreign territory as traditional European colonial powers did. Then, when the Egyptian tyrant was not backed up by our military, Obama's credibility was certified and when Obama tells Israel not to attack Iran that carries weight, even though Israel may object.

      What we want to happen next is for Israel and Iran to participate in another nuclear weapons free zone that extends over the Middle East. If Obama manages to achieve that, he can be called "the greatest."

      People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

      by hannah on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 04:29:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's Time... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Statusquomustgo, War on Error end all of this.

    To end privatization of prisons.

    To end spending more money on incarcerating Americans than educating them.

  •  Deprivation of rights = slavery (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error

    Deprivation of rights is legal as a punishment for crime.  Ergo, slavery is legal.  Slavery has always been legal since the adoption of the Constitution. It is our original sin--depriving humans of their human rights as a matter of law.  It also calls the whole concept of rule of law into question.  Because if the law can be used as a tool of subjugation, then it's role to secure justice is fatally compromised.

    The U.S. was and continues to be built on the backs of slaves.  
    Slavery is not defined by whether or not labor is paid.  Talented slaves were hired out and could even collect pay for themselves, as long as their owners got their 'cut.'  Slavery is defined by the enjoyment of one's human rights:

    to speak
    to walk
    to relocate
    to recreate
    to reproduce
    to create
    to communicate

    Human rights are based on endemic characteristics, function-based because that's what organisms have, functions.  They do things and, if they're not plants, they move around.  So, mobility is one of the basics and, regardless of what we've been led to believe, people strapped into cages with wheels are not exercising automobility.  The car is a deceptive substitute for the real thing.  That we don't have the real thing is demonstrated every time OWS are arrested when they exercise it.  
    Imagine! Walking where one wants is against the law!  Is that not the essence of slavery sanctioned by law?

    No, you may not go where you want because you don't have enough money.  No, you may not have lunch because you don't have enough money.  No, you may not learn to read because you don't have enough money.  No, you will not get hired for pay because you don't already have a job.

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 04:09:31 AM PST

  •  Making what a person inhales, ingests, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error

    injects or excretes a criminal offense is the very essence of deprivation of rights under cover of law.

    The ruling elite rely on law to make order.  In other words, they ave learned to pass laws in order to order people around.

    In the beginning, individual behavior was presumed good, unless and until it could be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that someone had been intentionally harmed. Now, the presumption of probity only adheres to the agents of law enforcement--i.e. the cops.  They are presumed to be doing the right thing, even when they are beating up someone who's done them no harm.

    The culture of obedience is the condition of the slave extended to everyone else.  What we overlooked in agitating for equality is that it is quite possible for everyone to be equally deprived of their rights. We can all be enslaved to the rule of law, an implacable tyrant that leaves no finger-prints.

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 04:18:13 AM PST

  •  Private prisons should be illegal eom (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error

    Warning: That light at the end of the tunnel just might be an oncoming train.

    by history first on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:31:25 AM PST

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