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[Organizing] [Prison Labor] [Oregon]
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DOC: Dealing Oppression Conspicuously

There are an unbelievable number of people incarcerated in prisons throughout Oregon who are either fearfully unwilling or shamefully disinterested in rocking the boat when it comes to initiating unnecessary change within the wall of their respective institutions. But quite often it is a requisite for beneficial change to capsize the boat and force the crew to flounder. As our diminishing rights become even more chewed up by the ravenous jaws of the imperialist piranhas, sitting idly by and watching the grim reality show that is our subjugation, results only in the further detriment and disenfranchisement of the socially ostracized. Unity brings potency to a revolution; solidarity releases an energy capable of crippling the most obstinate oppressor.

The State makes the prisoner an indentured servant to the correctional machine. we are forced to work for paltry earnings under the explicit fiat of Oregon law; punished if we refuse to forfeit our independence. In order to retain special privileges and certain material possessions, it is mandatory that we work our brittle fingers to the bone for the State. One could easily make the argument that it should be criminal to penalize a person for his or her refusal to be a state-sanctioned slave.

As someone doing a life term in prison, the last thing I want is to be a labor horse for the same imperialists who've taken an ax to my liberties. Whatever pittance I procure from my coerced labors must inevitably return to its original source, as I cannot avoid frequenting the commissary to purchase the bare necessities for maintaining personal hygiene and a vital connection to the outside world. The money must revert back to the State; it is a fiendish circle. Moreover, as the demand for their commodities increases, those in charge of operations within the commissary business raise the prices. Meanwhile, the monetary reward handed out to the sweating and bleeding prisoners remains invariably insufficient. But if I want to survive comfortably I must tow the line. However, perhaps it is when we grow too comfortable with our dire situations that we become reticent to speak out against our oppressors.

Those who lord over the lumpen are not to be confided in, nor are they to be greeted as yokefellows. They do not sympathize with our plight. How can they? They receive exorbitant amounts of money to imprison us, to keep us downtrodden and mentally enervated. To them we are the dregs of society, the mischief-makers whose drumbeat is not synchronous with theirs. Which is why it boggles my mind that there are prisoners who shower the corrections officers with warm cordiality as if these licensed oppressors are on equal terms with the incarcerated. I witness them in deep conversations with the officers on a daily basis, sharing information about themselves, as well as information about others. Prisoners joke around with the guards like everyone is best friends and not two socially separated classes - the oppressed and oppressor. What the oppressed prisoners seem woefully unreceptive to is the fact that these potentates of the penal system are in charge of keeping us stripped of our individuality, and hold the power to make our lives downright miserable. They raid our cells - essentially our homes - and confiscate anything that worries them or shows signs of our burgeoning dissatisfaction with our confinement. Anything we manufacture to amuse ourselves is stolen from us and tossed away like refuse. They intercept grievances, deliberately lose or discard our ail, and tell us when to wake up and when to eat. This is not a relationship of reciprocal treatment. It is a relationship where we are forced under threat of punishment to bow to authority, to respect authority, and they in turn deprive us of the same respect. They see us a dollar signs, not as friends.

The amelioration of our confinement will only see fruition when the lumpen unite as one solid and formidable engine and drive our oppressors into the ground like railroad spikes. We must learn to be smarter than them, to dodge their attacks, and to gain support not just from those in likewise wretched situations but from allies outside of the walls. We must face the challenges as bravely and indefatigably as possible. For it is not the steel bars that make the prison, but those who are unwilling to fight to break the chains.

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[Organizing] [Prison Labor] [Texas] [ULK Issue 14]
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Our Unity vs. their Crisis

In today's prison society, prisoners are losing constitutional rights at an alarming rate under either the security rationale or the rehabilitation rationale. Yes, our United States Supreme Court has effectively shut the constitutional door on prisoners and individuals charged with crimes. A fair trial is now impossible as any misconduct by the prosecutor is considered "harmless error." Additionally, many individuals plead to charges they have not committed due to judicial extortion; "Take this five years or we're going to give you 99." It's all sad, but reflects the state of our society and country as a whole, and the corrosion of our criminal justice system.

In the newsletter, I read that many prisoner have begun food strikes; one wanting to commit suicide, the others want to sign a petition. The sad and unfortunate truth is, none of these work. Yet there is a way to be heard that is peaceful and has a dramatic effect.

Prisons are run by prisoners from laundry, food service, landscaping to maintenance of the institution. Additionally, many prisoners work in industries that manufacture anything from stop signs, chemicals to office furniture for the state and the prisons themselves. What if we were to just stop? Yes, stop supporting the imperial system that oppresses us at every level? Incarceration costs would rise exponentially overnight. Correctional officers would have to be hired to pick up where the inmate population left off. The cost of incarceration would be so great that states could not afford to incarcerate people en masse as they do today. Until the prison population itself makes a stand against the draconian justice and prison system, they will continue to lose the most basic and fundamental rights inherent to man.

My brothers and sisters, it is us, the prison population that runs and perpetuates the injustice of the justice and prison system and it is we who can peacefully break its back. The courts have failed us; the politicians have failed us; our country has failed us. Must we continue to fail ourselves? Must we continue to be dehumanized, degraded, mistreated and tortured so others may prosper and/or be entertained? It's time to see this realistically and stand together peacefully, to battle an unjust system as one. Martin Luther King once said, "The ultimate measure of a man [or woman] is not where he [or she] stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he [or she] stands in times of challenge and controversy." Are you a person of character who can stand as one or individually in the face of adversity? If we can't stand together as one then no matter what we do, we lose. Give some thought to this. All that's necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men and women to do nothing.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We couldn't agree with this comrade more that there is no real justice to be had by the class system of imperialism. We don't expect petitions to solve the heart of the problem, though we may achieve partial victories. And we've already cautioned comrades that hunger strikes without outside pressure and support tend to be ultra-left tactics that can lead to sacrificing of lives.

But as we explain elsewhere, petition campaigns are two-pronged. One prong is to improve our ability to organize by fighting winnable battles, and the other prong is agitational to expose the state's repressiveness.

The facts behind this comrade's proposal are solid, as we discussed in ULK #8 on prison labor. And the argument is particularly strong as most state's are facing extreme financial shortages. They cannot afford to run their prisons if the labor aristocracy must do all the work.

However, in most cases, the level of unity does not exist to carry out this tactic effectively. Another comrade who proposed this same strategy simultaneously complains about this reality. Again, this is where more agitational work comes into play, like petitions, lawsuits and even small fund drives that some comrades have led. These things establish unity among people on the issues. With that unity, we can begin to talk about mass actions, such as boycotts.

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[Prison Labor] [Georgia]
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No pay for work in Georgia

Prisons in Georgia cut down trees, scoop waste from pipes, make clothes, cook food, repair equipment, do plumbing, fight fires, till the land, teach school, make boots, and many other things. Yet we don't get any benefits, workers comp, or pay, whatsoever. Any labor, whatever the work, is done for free. Wages don't exist in the Georgia Department of Corrections. The only way you can earn money is by working the last 6 months of your sentence in a halfway house or pre-release center.

Most of the public has no objections to Georgia prisoners not being paid. They support laws that make it harder for us to succeed or enjoy life. They want us to stay in prison forever. When we get out they don't want us to be able to get a good job or live anywhere near them.

Politicians talk about rehabilitation but that ain't what they really want. They want only to exploit others for gain and retain power. This system we are under doesn't care about the people, they only pretend to care.

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[Economics] [Prison Labor] [ULK Issue 10]
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Talk of Early Releases with Economic Crisis

prisoner release
In ULK 8 we focused on the economics of u$ prisons, touching on the likelihood of current economic trends cutting into the bloated government budgets for prisons. While the topic continues to attract a lot of attention, a report on the recently approved budgets for fiscal year 2010 proves to be a bit of a mixed bag.

Since staffing accounts for 75-80% of "corrections" budgets, staff reductions, pay reductions and closing facilities are the most effective and widespread means of cutting costs. But cutting food, health and programming are also widespread in the new budgets.

Overall, spending is going to go down next year, bucking a quarter-century trend. The report had data from 33 states, and 22 of them are reducing their prison budgets. Since then, the biggest prison state, California, has passed a budget cutting $1.2 billion from the department of corrections (one of the largest percentage cuts across the country). (2) California is also in the interesting position of facing legal pressure to reduce its prison population. Building Serve the People programs to support comrades after release from prison is a more pressing task than ever.

However, MIM(Prisons) is not convinced that this trend will continue, significantly cutting the amerikan imprisonment craze, as some think. This is based on our analysis of the u$ prison system being about social control and not about making money. If unemployment goes up, we predict that amerika will continue to push the strategy of paying one sector of society to imprison and rule over another.

As we have explained in ULK9, there are no profits to be made in operating prisons. Like all military and oppressive forces of the state, these are completely non-productive, parasitic operations. Unlike a capitalist industry that tends to minimize labor costs relative to other capital costs, these parasitic operations are set up to distribute fat paychecks to those most loyal to the imperialist system. Hence spending 80% of the budget on staffing.

To put the numbers in some perspective, the $52 billion spent in 2008 on state prisons in the united $tates is equivalent to the the Gross Domestic Product of Afghanistan and Nepal combined, for the same year. (3) That's over 50 million people who must run two whole countries on the same amount of resources provided to the 430,000 amerikans employed in "corrections" to run a population of 2.3 million prisoners. (4)

notes:
(1) Scott-Hayward, Christine S. The Fiscal Crisis in Corrections: Rethinking Policies and Practices. July 2009. http://www.vera.org
(2) Office of the Governor. 7/28/2009
Corrections and Rehabilitation Budget Detail
(3) CIA World Factbook.
(4) Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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[Prison Labor] [Federal Correctional Institution Butner Medium II] [North Carolina]
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Work for Low Wages in North Carolina

Let me start by thanking you for the wonderful work you are doing. A friend of mine gave me your May 2009 Under Lock & Key paper. I'm a slave at a Federal Institution in Butner North Carolina. I'm writing you to give you more insight on what's going on in these federal plantations. I was at FCI Victorville #1 in California for 6 years until I was once again accused of a false investigation in the prison. I was found in no violation of BOP policy, yet they sent me clear across the country away from my family. As you can see, this is another form of breaking up families.

Anyway, while at Victorville, I observed that Unicor has a real slave plantation going on, and they are brain washing guys with the crumbs (money) they are being paid. Unicor work consists of putting HUMVs together for the military and building military forklifts from the ground up, these are not your ordinary forklifts, they are huge and I hear they're worth around $100k from some of the guys who work in Unicor. The prisoners are paid anywhere from $130 a month at grade 2 or 3. Grade 1 gets paid around $180 to $240 a month. If they do over time, working 2 or 3 days a week around 12 hours, they will make from $400 to $500 a month. I know that sounds like a lot for someone who is incarcerated, and that's the hook, that's how the guys get brainwashed. These guys go to the commissary and give it right back, it's a vicious cycle and the guys don't see it. So the government is getting theirs back through the commissary, phone, and now they have computers so we can buy time and email.

The phone system works like this: you can pay for your call or you can call collect. If you pay for your calls it will come out to roughly around $72 dollars for your 300 minutes. We get 300 minutes a month. A phone call for 5 minutes is $1.20. And we all have restitution so 50% of our pay is taken for that.

There was an incident at Victorville where we were having a few riots and we were getting locked down a lot and everything was shut down, Unicor included. We heard that Victorville was going to lose their contract with the military and they were going to send their work to another institution because we were getting locked down a lot. They have a timeline to finish all these HumVs and forklifts. While we were on lockdown on one occasion they let the Unicor guys out while we were still locked down in our cells, so I wrote to the Western Regional Office they forwarded it to the warden.

These federal plantations are built to serve the military and public. I'm now at Butner FCI #2. Here they have a Unicor but they produce shirts for the Navy, they have a sweat shop going on. I found out these slaves here only get $30 a month at grade 4. Grade 1 gets around $120 a month.

I also learned they they have a call center which calls the public. First they train the prisoners how to type, then they work as part of the Information Center for North Carolina. When you call and you need a listing of someone or customer service for cell phones, you will be connected to one of 20 prisoners who work in the call center. The pay for this work is monthly: $172 for grade 1, $138 for grade 2, $103 for grade 3, $69 for grade 4 and $34.50 for grade 5.

As you can see the government has reinvented slavery with a twist and Blacks, Latinos and poor whites are the targets. They are giving out Buck Roger release dates so they think they can have you for life. Brothas and Sistas please unite and become one to rid this country of modern day slavery.

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[Prison Labor] [Arkansas]
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Prison Labor in Arkansas

I received the ULK issues 7 and [https://www.prisoncensorship.info/ulk/8]8. There are many issues that come to mind reading them. We here in the Arkansas department of Corrections receive good time for work as follows: for every day Class IV=0, Class III=10 days, Class II=20 days, Class I=30 days. When you arrive at a unit you begin "hoe squad" at Class II for an initial 60 days. Each 30 days you receive 20 days good time, then if you get put up for classification you get Class I and a job change. Hoe Squad is working cotton fields, corn fields, etc. with a Texas Aggie Hoe. Once you get Class I and a job change you get 30 days for every 30 days you work.

If you get into any trouble during your stay you are automatically taken back to class IV, and each time 365 days good time is taken whether you have it or not. Somehow you have to try to get that good time back or you don't ever see a parole date. Imagine losing 3 years good time your first 6 months incarcerated and then trying to get back what you don't have.

No prisoner is paid any funds for their jobs, whether it be in the fields or in the buildings, maintenance, clerks, fire and safety, cooks, laundry, etc. We are held in sub-standard conditions, charge us for medical treatment, and our entire funds are $6 per year per prisoner for Christmas and 1 razor, 1 soap per prisoner per week.

We need OGs of all sets to come to the realization that once incarcerated we are the enemy. Unification is a must. Peace needs to be condoned and even guarded by one another. Shot callers need to unite. Get your boyz together, choose decisions and then roll on together - all of us.

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[Prison Labor] [Colorado]
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Poor and Tired in Colorado

I got your latest ULK #8. I think they couldn't find a reason to deny this issue. In this issue you had a section on prison labor. Colorado pays 60 cents per day. After taking DOC's 20% cut we get 48 cents for slaving for Governor Ritter all day. This is just another way the state of Colorado keeps us poor and unable to call our families. Poor and tired the Governor Ritter way in Colorado.

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[Prison Labor] [ULK Issue 8]
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Direct Appropriation of Labor by Staff

Although the economic exploitation of prisoners may be insignificant on the scale of the greater imperialist economy, it is very real on the scale of the individual prisoners and CO's involved in this abuse.

One prisoner in New York sent us a copy of a claim he made, which read in part:

The complaint/grievance was the result of the claimant's having been enslaved by Mr. Snye, the horticulture instructor of Riverview. The claimant was forced to choose between completing a web-site for one of Mr. Snye's personal business ventures or punitive physical measures (being forced to shift enormous stones and to engage in other extremely demanding physical labor) and, if the claimant continued to refuse, expulsion from the program. Threats of bogus charges and accompanying disciplinary measures were consatntly looming, along with vague, yet clear indications that there would by SHU time, if anyone found out. (1)

Even in California where CO's made an average of $62,230/yr in 2007, with some exceeding $130,000/yr, these amerikans still aren't satisfied. (2) In a couple of recent cases CDCR employees have received additional pay when they were not supposed to. In one case 9 office technicians got raises of $16,530 for 3 years prior to being caught, that they were not entitled to. In another, 2 CDCR doctors scammed an additional $108,000. (3) And as a comrade reported in ULK 6, nurses within CDCR make up to $582 a day for about 2 hours of work. (4) With all that money from the state, you'd think exploitation of prisoners would be the last thing on their mind. Yet, again so-called "vocational" programs are tools of exploitation where prisoners being taught auto body and paint work on the pigs' BMWs, Porsches and Corvettes for free. (5)

How can we expect prisoners to benefit from these programs in any way when they are run for the benefit of amerikan jail keepers?

(1) Slavery and Racism justify SHU time in NY
(2) Bureau of Labor Statistics
(3) Sacramento Bee, October 3, 2008.
(4) Prison workers paid overtime for 2 hours labor
(5) Jobs and rehab in California prisons

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[Prison Labor] [New York] [ULK Issue 8]
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New York Prisoners' Report on Labor and Economics

"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..."
—Thirteenth Amendment, United States Constitution

History of Legalized Slavery

The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified by Congress by the required three-fourths of the States (27 of 36) on January 31, 1865, and declared an amendment December 18, 1865. To understand it in a prison setting, it is important to look at the history after it was ratified until today.

It was during the time of the enactment of the Thirteenth Amendment that "slaves", or better yet, the offspring of slaves had heightened their resistance to this torture and inhumane treatment that they inherited by bad luck. Slave leaders like Fredrick Douglas and Harriet Tubman started to educate themselves, assist in the escape of other slaves, and lobby for the rights that they felt they were due. Former slaves, escaped slaves, and others sympathetic to them led negotiations of the Thirteenth Amendment.

Once enacted, what was to be a victory for slaves, the Thirteenth Amendment later became nothing more than a smoke screen. When southern slave owners figured out that the second part to the amendment gave exception "as a punishment for crime" crafty southern lawmakers substituted various equivalents. One of these was "peonage." Peonage is a labor system in which the worker, who owes money to his or her employer, must "work off the debt." The term also can be defined, however, as virtual slavery or serfdom. Southern states enacted a series of laws that required, as punishment, high fines. Poor, now-"free" slaves were forced to borrow money to pay the fines and "work off" the debt, often times never paying off the interest. Some "crimes" included breaking curfews, and vagrancy.

The Freedman's Bureau, a government agency established to help former slaves assume responsibility as free citizens, attempted to replace "Peonage" with contracts. However, southern " Black Codes" prevented much progress. Vagrancy laws were abundant, and slavery was still existent, just under an alias.

In 1867, Congress enacted the Peonage Act in New Mexico, applying it to all of America. Now it was a felony to hold a person in Peonage or to seize or arrest a person to enforce Peonage. This same act outlawed any state law designed to enforce Peonage. In the 1900's the Peonage Act was accepted in full.

As we'll see below, modern laws and policies continue this legacy with many of the same oppressor nation motivations as in the 19th century.

Control those who can't be exploited

Every year, hundreds of thousands of mostly Black and Latino men from the 5 boroughs of NYC go thru the biggest county jail in the united $tates: Rikers Island in New York. After being convicted (which happens 70% of the time), private contractors bus them to state prisons upstate, more than 2/3rds of which are in rural areas with almost all white populations. Most of the officers, nurses, vocational instructors, etc. are from farming populations that lost their traditional economies largely to imperialist expansion into foreign markets in the Third World where they can exploit the people and buy food for excessively cheap prices.

Prisons are now the epicenter around which many towns have sprung up, reviving the dying rural communities. The local populations compete for these jobs, which are unique in their high wages and pension plans, while requiring minimal thinking ability.

No one can deny the stark increase in incarceration of Blacks within the past three decades. This increase is largely due to policies and harsh laws which are racially motivated. One notorious example is the federal guideline that sentences people to 10 years for possession of 5 grams of crack or 500 grams of cocaine, when whites are much more likely to be caught with cocaine. No study has ever proven that crack - cocaine in its coagulated form - is more harmful than its powder form. And though this law was modified recently, its purpose has already been served.

Since the end of slavery's role as a profitable enterprise by the u$ farming industry, the principal question for law officials has been, 'What is to be done about the fast growing population of restless young Black men?' - Prison has become the solution to this never ending problem. A population that is no longer a significant source of labor to be exploited, nor allowed to be junior partners to the imperialists, has no role to play in the modern imperialist economy. Hence, we have seen the growing lumpen class behind u$ prison walls.

Prison serves three valuable solutions, or better yet, prison has been the solution which can be explained in three forms.

  1. Prison is used as a social contraceptive to reduce and control population growth.
  2. Prison is a way to ebb the radical political consciousness of the people. To separate those radical elements among oppressed nations from influencing others to seek change rather than reform.
  3. Prison has been used as a way to deal with rising unemployment and stem entry into the already declining job market. (This is true despite the fact that after years of incarceration, most Blacks and Latinos are released to their communities with little hopes for employment, regardless of any participation in vocational programs.)

As we can see, the prison system is much more than an economic force exploiting labor. This is not to deny economic benefit that is reaped by the corporate elites and the amerikan so-called "worker" stooges. Prison, as a part of the capitalist system, has a further implication beyond jobs; it is also a way to repress other nations of people: the Black, Latino and indigenous nations, as well as migrants from the Third World.

Economics of NY Prisons

New York State Department of Correctional Services (DOCS), has approximately 60,000 inmates. In this system, "programs" are mandatory. Programs range from industry work, to maintenance, to pseudo-rehabilitative or educational programs. Most people work to keep the facility up and running. The five pay grades are as follows:

Grade 116¢ per hour
Grade 225¢ per hour
Grade 332¢ per hour
Grade 438¢ per hour
Grade 542¢ per hour

Each facility is limited to a small number of people being paid grade five, so in all actuality Grade 4 is top pay. Grade 4 is reserved for foremen, who are a special class within themselves where the old rule of divide and conquer prevails. They have proven their loyalty to the system through years of hard work and often report other prisoners if something goes wrong - many of these positions are given to white prisoners.

There are "industries" in several facilities: Attica specializes in making lockers that you find in state office buildings; Great Meadow specializes in manufacturing various chemicals such as liquid soap to clean public transportation and soap that is given to inmates; Coxsackie manufactures bed sheets, pillow cases, clothing worn by doctors and nurses, as well as money bags used by banks. All of these items are manufactured under the name "CorCraft." CorCraft made over $40 million in 2005, while prisoners were paid pennies. CorCraft is a government industry so the $40 million all goes back into the state General Fund, essentially offsetting some of the cost of running prisons or other public "services."

A "bonus" is given based on the individual productivity of every prison. For example, at grade 2 my base pay for a 40 hour work week is $10.00 (all programs other than Industry work 25 hour work weeks). With a 50% bonus I would make $15.00. Unlike all other prison programs, Industry workers punch a time clock and are forced to punch out whenever they leave their shops, even for meals which are in most cases mandatory.

An inmate in DOCS, comes in with a substantial debt to pay automatically: $40.00 Gate Fees, $150.00 Surcharge, $50.00 DNA fee, $20.00 Victims Fee. Additional debts may include restitution, child support, appeals fees, legal fees, processing fees, disciplinary sanctions (if incurred), etc. Oftentimes these amounts run into the thousands of dollars, and higher.

The cost of Commissary staple items, hygiene supplies, stamps, etc., have increased so dramatically that, in proportion, the payment DOCS pays in exchange for hard work becomes virtually worthless. For example, at $0.13 an hour, after a three hour work day mowing lawns in 90-degree weather, an inmate still cannot afford even one $0.42 stamp. The pay deteriorates even more if a percentage of the inmate's earnings must go toward fees, surcharges, fines, or other obligations.

Where it leaves us

Previous challenges to DOCS Peonage system of pay have been unsuccessful because DOCS maintains that they are not "paying" but rather "compensating" inmates for their "program" participation. International Law, such as the Geneva Convention, is pretty clear that prisoners of war cannot be "forced to work" without compensation. However, it does not state what compensation is. The Japanese, for example, compensate their prisoners with food.

In fact, food is one of the greatest incentives for New York inmates to work inside of prison. The Mess Hall is one of prison's more unpredictable locations. While the Mess Hall is mandatory for all meals in some prisons, here in DOCS, attendance is elective. In order to avoid potential conflicts, when possible, many inmates choose to skip the Mess Hall meal and eat a quick sandwich with Commissary items. A positive account balance is required in order to purchase food from the Commissary.

Another great incentive for prisoners to do work is postage. Years of study have proven that inmates who work to maintain family ties strive to do well in general prison populations. Inmates who receive visits do even better, and those who do not maintain family ties are statistically more vulnerable to problems. The ability to correspond with family is usually essential to maintaining family ties. If a person cannot afford a stamp after three hours of hard labor, the incentive for that person to be positive for the remainder of the day greatly diminishes.

DOCS originally established a system to pay inmates, in order to prevent theft and encourage inmates to work. However, by not paying a meaningful wage, what DOCS actually creates is a mirror of the Peonage System. An inmate in prison for ten years, without the assistance of family, may leave prison, not only still in debt, but convinced that hard work is useless and that society is inherently unfair. This is one of the results of a system based on punishing individuals, rather than changing the system that created their bad behaviors. In contrast, a socialist prison system serves to turn those who commit crimes against the people into productive contributors to society.

If the DOCS simply raised the "compensation" from pennies to even just $1.50/hour, this financial outlay surely would pay for itself. An inmate who has no hope of meeting his needs through legitimate earnings is likely to attempt to get what he wants, i.e. stamps, food, cigarettes, etc., by illegitimate means: thievery, violence, extortion, gambling, etc. Such activity increases the likelihood of claims for property, of altercations and of injuries, which lead to civil actions brought against the State.

It is time for the State to increase "compensation" for inmates - compensation that will assist inmates in maintaining hope and in maintaining family ties while inside of prison, and compensation that will convince inmates that there truly is benefit in working hard to earn one's way toward productive life, once they get outside.

MIM(Prisons) supports the application of a global minimum wage under capitalism. Although it would have to be taken into consideration that prisoners are provided with most basic needs before being paid - as poor as they may be.

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[Prison Labor] [Utah]
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Responses to Prison Economics from Utah

Greetings comrades! I am writing to you today to first and foremost thank your organization for all the work being done to educate the sleepers.

I received your notice and letter about the pigs refusing the literature you sent to me. I was not even issued a copy of the rejection slip by the prison mail room. They are by policy required to notify prisoners of any and all mail refused by the facility, but following policy is not of concern to the oppressors! I am glad to have received ULK #7. There was plenty of good info in there and I have passed the newsletter around to others.

In regards to money being made by the prison, I am a witness to the way prisoners are performing cheap labor in this hell hole as the prison gets contracts with outside corporations. For example, UCI (Utah Correctional Industries) employs prisoners to make products for any corporation including the united states military. The prisoners are paid anywhere from 90 cents to $5.45 to work for UCI an hour. They must give back 60% of their total pay to the prison. So each prisoner is roughly making $1,144.50 a month, but they only bring home roughly $400 bucks after the prison gets their cut off top.

Then the prisoner must turn around and buy food off of commissary, which is extremely overpriced. So the prison is again making money. The UCI job is the best one as far as pay, that a prisoner can get.

The section jobs (in house stuff like food handler, section cleaner) only pay $62 a month. These jobs are what keep the prison functioning and the pay is a joke to say the least. There are not enough pigs to fill the positions prisoners hold and if the convicts would stand in solidarity to demand higher pay it would make some changes have to be made or the institution would not function.

Yet problem number one is the lack of solid convicts who will stand as one against the oppressors. Number two is that only a handful of prisoners have any income from family or friends, so they must work and accept the low pay, just to purchase general needs such as soap, deodorant and other hygiene.

The system is well designed to stay with a full belly at the expense of the poor, oppressed prisoners it houses. Prisons are huge money makers for somebody, and its time for the people to come to power and take control of our environments to live righteous lives!

Keep up the good work MIM!

P.S. Here’s a list of some more jobs that prisoners perform to keep this place running: laundry services, food prep, grounds keeping, plumbing, and the UCI makes all clothes issued to prisoners and for purchase of commissary.

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