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    Connecting the Pieces

    Can Small Businesses Compete With Government Sanctioned “Neo-Slavery”?

    Connecting The Pieces
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    Jay Johnson
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    Recent stats reveal the US prison-industrial complex holds 2.3 mln prisoners. Under current law, ALL inmates with a few exceptions are required to work and are paid from .23 cents to a $1.15 per hour. US laws and regulations stipulate that other federal agencies, with some exceptions, are required to purchase the goods produced by prisoners.

    The Federal Prison Industries, also known as UNICOR and FPI, is a wholly owned United States Government corporation that was created back in 1934.

    The UNICOR.gov website notes that it specifically uses inmates in the Federal Bureau of Prisons to produce goods and services. Wikipedia notes that under current law, ALL physically able inmates who are not a security risk or have health exceptions are required to work for UNICOR or some other prison job, and in doing so, are paid from 23 cents an hour to a whole $1.15 per hour.

    According to US laws and regulations, federal agencies, except the Department of Defense, are REQUIRED to purchase the products that are offered by UNICOR. Thus, it could be argued that the US government sanctions “neo-slavery”.  Even worse, a number of fortune 500 companies utilize inmate labor and pay below market rates. Some say that the 13th Amendment is being exploited for corporate profit.


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