Prisoners Paid Nothing for Work in Oklahoma
I am writing about slavery in the prison system operated by Oklahoma Department of Corruptions. Prisoners are classified by security levels 1-4. Unless medically restricted, all prisoners must work. Jobs range from air conditioned settings to outside jobs in freezing winter temperatures or 100 degree temperatures in summer.
Gang pay ranges from $14 on level 4 to zero on level 1. Level 1 prisoners work just as hard as other levels, yet work for nothing. Prisoners get write-ups if fired from a job or if they refuse to work. Among other things, sanctions can include a $5 fine. For getting fired or a write-up, your level gets dropped. Thus, level 1 prisoners get no gang pay and get fired. Your fine is confiscated from any money your cash-strapped family sends you.
The cycle is vicious. The slave wages of nothing show just one of the inequalities of Oklahoma's prisons.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this comrade that the conditions of labor in Oklahoma prisons are unacceptable, but we would not call this system of prisoner labor "slavery." As we explained in our article on the prison economy prison labor does not produce a profit for the prisons, rather it is used to offset some (but not all) of the costs of imprisonment. Prisons are primarily used as a tool of social control, with the prisoner labor only a minor aspect of this. The term slavery refers to the system that captures humyn labor for the purpose of exploiting and profiting from it. This is not the case with the Amerikan prison system today. It is important to understand the real motivations of the oppressor if we hope to change this oppressive system.