Is Prison Labor the New Slavery? – If so, Here’s How You Are Supporting It

I am all for prisoners doing something productive while they are incarcerated, but I don’t think they should be doing factory jobs to make the rich richer. Hard working Americans should have those jobs and they should make a good wage doing so.

Let’s just call this what it is, modern-day slavery, also known as “a punishment for crimes” as laid out in a loophole in the 13th Amendment:

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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.

Corporations with deep pockets continue to lobby on strengthening this loophole to keep the money rolling in.

Want to Get Real for a Minute?

This didn’t happen by accident.

During Reconstruction, Southern states quickly took advantage of the 13th Amendment’s slavery loophole by arresting Black people for minor crimes such as unemployment, loitering or gambling, and selling them to private employers through the convict lease system.

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You can look this up, it happened. And, is still happening.

Just look at the stats today, the majority of Black people arrested are in the prison system for drug offenses. No one stops to point out that the Black community uses drugs at the same rate as the White community. In fact, Blacks are incarcerated for drug crimes at 20 times the rate of Whites in some states.

How Do YOU, Wal-Mart, and Starbucks Play a Role In Modern-Day Slavery?

Wal-Mart is an example of a corporation profiting from prison labor. They make substantial purchases prison farms, where in many cases, prisoners face long hours in scorching heat with minimal food and water.

You are unknowingly supporting this type of slavery by being a consumer of a long list of corporations (with zero accountability). Some of these corporations exploiting prison labor include:

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  • AT&T
  • BP (British Petroleum)
  • Verizon
  • Starbucks
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Nintendo
  • Microsoft
  • McDonald’s
  • K-Mart
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Costco
  • Chevron
  • Bank of America
  • Bayer
  • Caterpillar
  • Chrysler
  • John Deere
  • Exxon Mobil
  • Johnson and Johnson
  • Koch Industries
  • Merck
  • Motorola
  • Pfizer
  • Pepsi
  • Shell
  • UPS
  • Wendy’s
  • Victoria’s Secret

Want to Get Real for another Minute?

Approximately 97% of 125,000 federal inmates have been convicted of non-violent crimes. Studies prove that more than half of the 623,000 inmates in municipal or county jails are innocent of the crimes they are accused of. Of these, the majority are awaiting trial.

Approximately 2/3 of 1,000,000+ state prisoners have committed non-violent offenses.

Approximately 1/7 of the US’s 2,000,000+ prisoners suffer from mental illness.

Again, most of this entire population is in prison for being Black.

And by the way, this is a White guy writing this article, I’m not suffering from ‘White-guilt’ I just happened to have an education from one of the most prestigious universities in the country (i.e. I’m educated).

And we want to make multi-national corporations richer by targeting this population and literally enslaving them?

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