Prison Labor at Oregon State Pen
There are about 2500 inmates housed here and about 1600 of them have jobs, the other 900 are inmates in control units.
The prison offers many jobs such as industry, kitchen, yard, unit, education, assistants, etc. Now all the industry jobs pay between $100 to $175 a month and all the rest pay between $25 to $75 a month, which is bullshit since the minimum wage is like $7.75 and the amount we get paid is only a small percentage of regular outside community jobs.
By working in the prison it keeps us focused and able to purchase the necessities we need to contain proper health & hygiene and things like food, electronics, etc. But the state charges us double or triple the price the items cost on the streets.
The kinds of work we do here consists of building furniture, welding, plumbing, electrical, repairing equipment, washing laundry and the rest are tutors for the education department and unit orderlies. There are also kitchen duties such as cooking, washing, dishes, wiping tables and serving the food.
The industry jobs make couches, chairs, tables and desks for the outside world. Other jobs make jewelry, saddles, clothes and toys. The lifers club has a lot of these items in the visiting room so when our people come to see us they can purchase them.
The Prison Blues clothes are made by prisoners at EOCI in Pendleton and SRCI. They have construction programs where we build trailers and sheds for people to live in. So we do more than make license plates, like in some states. But again, almost all the money made goes to the staff's checks, only 10% gets put toward the inmate trust fund.
Now the state of Oregon is making such a big profit off us working for pennies and they can't even give us better yard equipment so we can exercise without having to be careful the cables don't break while we're pumping the weights. So it's real sad that we live in these conditions.
If the inmates refused to work these jobs like slaves which we our slaves of the state then nothing would get done. The officers are so lazy all they do each day is sit around and eat donuts. There ain't no real labor in this job for them, but they bitch about always being tired. So if it weren't for us they wouldn't be making such a nice chunk of money and treating us so bad.