Sheriff Wants "Good Ones" For Prison Labor

This is just beyond belief.

arlier this month, Steve Prator, who heads the sheriff’s office in Caddo Parrish, one of the largest in Louisiana, held a press conference in which he bemoaned the state’s newly passed prison reforms, which could reduce the inmate population by as much as 10 percent by gradually releasing nonviolent offenders who would be eligible for a new early-release program.

Why? Apparently, he didn’t want the parish to lose its captive labor pool.

“That’s the ones you can work,” Prator said of the people who could be soon be let go under the plan. “That’s the ones that can pick up trash, the work release programs. But guess what? Those are the ones [the state is] releasing.” He added, “In addition to the bad [prisoners], they’re releasing some good ones that we use every day to wash cars, to change oil in our cars, to cook in the kitchens, to do all that where we save money—well, they’re going to let them out.”

About 700,000 of America’s 1.5 million prison inmates have jobs, and they work for as little as 12 to 40 cents an hour with few workplace protections.
...In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, prison labor was largely regulated or prohibited, due in part to efforts by labor unions to prevent competition with low-paid inmates. But beginning in the 1970s, as the prison population began to rise, businesses lobbied to gut these regulations, says Thompson. In 1979, Congress created a program that gives incentives to private companies to use prison labor. Currently, the federal prison industries program produces items ranging from mattresses to prescription eyewear. Some inmates are employed as call center operators (“It’s the best kept secret in outsourcing!” says the program’s website.) Last year, federal inmates helped bring in nearly $472 million in net sales—but only 5 percent of that revenue went to pay inmates.

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The CEPR study observes that US prison rates are not just excessive in comparison to the rest of the world, they are also "substantially higher than our own longstanding history." The study finds that incarceration rates between 1880 and 1970 ranged from about "100 to 200 prisoners per 100,000 people." After 1980, the inmate population "began to grow much more rapidly than the overall population and the rate climbed from "about 220 in 1980 to 458 in 1990, 683 in 2000, and 753 in 2008."
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snoopydawg's picture

She is on record saying that and if she decides to run for president, this is going to affect the black vote big time. "If we release people who are in prison for drug use, labor rates will go up."

Using prison labor is another form of slavery that should be against the law unless people are willing to work and they get paid at least minimum wage.
There were around a hundred women fighting the California fires for $1/hour and $2/day.

I thought using prison labor was terminated shortly after the civil war?
Oh well. Roe v Wade made abortion legal too and look where we are today.

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16 users have voted.

I’m betting billionaires taste like chicken. More research required…
Someone should put together a new cookbook with this in mind.

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@snoopydawg

Lawyers for state Attorney General Kamala Harris argued that extending an early prison-release program to “all minimum custody inmates at this time would severely impact fire camp participation—a dangerous outcome while California is in the middle of a difficult fire season and severe drought.”

Defenders of slavery argued that the sudden end to the slave economy would have had a profound and killing economic impact in the South where reliance on slave labor was the foundation of their economy. The cotton economy would collapse. The tobacco crop would dry in the fields. Rice would cease being profitable.

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7 users have voted.

I am waiting for you, Vizzini.

eyo's picture

I cut all the flowery prose from the article below. This is from a couple days ago, I can hardly read what passes for "news" in the local rag, everything has finally gone off the rails. Sensational. I'm sure it looks perfectly normal to most people. Normal.

State prison firefighters on the frontlines of Sonoma County wildfires

There are 10 inmate strike teams, totaling some 250 inmates, currently living at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, said Cal Fire Capt. Steve Meadows. There are another two or three female inmate fire crews working on Sonoma County fires, he said.

About 100 prisoners from four strike teams carved out a fire line to protect hundreds of homes in Rincon Valley on Tuesday night, Meadows said.
...
Firefighters Mark Hill and Vernon Royal were on the frontline, fighting fire with fire and cutting containment breaks where bulldozers couldn’t. Unlike most firefighters they wore orange gear instead of yellow and were only earning $1 an hour.
...
“They are doing a very good job for very little pay,” Meadows said. “They put a lot on the line for the residents of California.”

Wow, that Meadows guy is a big thinker eh? The whole article is content-free, a story in search of content.

Blowback sucks, especially the kind that builds and builds for years on end. Neglect, abuse, exploitation, it goes on forever. Then stuff falls apart and everyone goes, huh? The arc of history bends toward idiocracy. Welcome the new Idiots! Same as the old ones. Which genius will decide prisoners work great on dam maintenance too? Why pay union wages huh? duh

good luck

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8 users have voted.

On a blog.

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

Instead of wasting all of their vitriolic energies pulling down old statues to protest the past system of dejure slavery, wouldn't the protesters' time be better spent demonstrating against the present system of defacto slavery in our penal system and the racist drug war that has justified the gradual return of a slave based political economy?

Guess it's easier fighting the dead than the living. Or something.

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10 users have voted.

I am waiting for you, Vizzini.

@Not Henry Kissinger
Not real world issues that effect your life.

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4 users have voted.