Off Shore, Near Shore, and Now...Jail Shore
Colorado has got a big problem. After passing one of the nation's toughest illegal immigration laws, the state's agricultural industry is nearing collapse because most of the low-wage migrant workers it depended on have fled. But proving that necessity is truly the mother of invention, state legislators have come up with a novel solution: Put convicts in the fields and make them pick vegetables...practically for free.
Farmers like it. Legislators like it. Big Agro likes it. Prison guards like it (they get paid to watch the prisoners). Seems everybody likes it. And what does your author think? Well, these are prisoners. Do they have a right to control what they do, or do not do, while incarcerated? Probably not, but there is a big difference between making license plates for the government and laboring to fatten Archer Daniels Midland's bottom line.
There is also a pernicious dark side to convicts laboring on behalf of big business. Get corporations used to the idea that they can fill their low prestige, low skill jobs with prisoners and suddenly you've got government and Big Agro colluding to lock up more and more people. Yes sir! Ease that temporary labor shortage with Jail-o-Sourcing!.
HT to Deb of Deb's Web who wryly noted how indentured servitude seems to be back in fashion.
hmmm, windspike is onto something with the slavery comparison, seeing as how there are an inordinate number of african-americans in our prison system. ~~ D.K.
so because your in prison you have to do what job the politicians deem necessary? great! free sewer cleaners, rat killers, hey maybe even school bus drivers!
or wait!! I've got it, the next time some major union goes on strike (say air traffic controllers, or elementary teachers) just fire the lot and use Jail-o-Sourcing! Oh this is going to be big....
Since, the both countries, China and the U.S.A., have one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, the supply of fresh worker ants is guaranteed. Let's see if the next step will be to start harvesting the organs from those no good criminals, just like they do in China! And if you excecute some of those bastards, might as well start collecting the good bodyparts because the markets for them have never been better. There is a lot of money in them tehre livers, hearts and lungs!
So what's next, the incarcerated being handed off to Halliburton and shipped overseas to be used as human IED detectors--very close, I think, to what you're talking about Pekka.
This isn't some nation-wide conspiracy, and Colorado is a bit strange anyhow - I lived there for 5 miserable, gut-wrenching years.
While the corporate angle, as stated before, bothers me, I must say that having prisoners who actually learn what it is like to do some PRODUCTIVE manual labor (not just busting rocks), and who work hard enough to tire themselves out and not be a problem once they go back inside for the night is a good thing.
"Slavery???" Come on folks - we aren't talking about people who had no choice - these people chose to commit crimes, many of them violent. I have no sympathy - if you can't do the time....
Hill... Ah debtor's prisons. Now there's an idea whose time has come...again. Imagine the financial industry starts pushing for incarceration for defaulting on your credit-card debt. They throw you in prison but get you to work off the debt at pennies per day.
I really object to creating a windfall for big business through convict labor.
If I were doing hard time, I think I'd rather be on a field than in the shower room. But I am also leery of anything that big business does.
Pam... I don't remember reading about any incentives. The convicts in question are non-violent offenders, I think.
People always forget that America was founded by religious fanatics and criminals. They weren't hardcore criminals most of the time, they were people who had committed minor infractions, had offended some type of royalty or couldn't repay the credit that had been extended.
Next up, a new Stamp Act.
I DO have compassion for inmates, many have already had difficult lives, often including prejudice and/or inadequate legal resources. If we continue to treat them as animals, unworthy of our compassion than they will remain in this vicious circle. Society as a whole does not benefit from this.
I also do believe there are some very frightening people in prisons and deserve to remain there, but we still will accomplish nothing by treating other human beings as less than that - human beings.
"An eye for an eye just makes the whole world blind" -- Gandhi
And Callooh, you're very right to point out how our system is failing the incarcerated. My only comment is that we better figure out how to fix it double quick, as our prison populations are skyrocketing.