Prisoner Exploitation In The United States

987 words - 4 pages

Prisoner Exploitation is one of the most overlooked problems in the U.S. today, a problem that is largely ignored because of the social status & civil dislike of prisoners. The U.S. can be compared to other countries, I.E. China and India in its practices, practices which employ its workers for long hours in small, cramped spaces for long hours with little to no pay, akin to sweatshop labor found in other countries. In the U.S. however, it is not sweatshop labor, U.S. prisoners are forced into Penal Labor, as a form of punishment for their imprisonment. As one of the leading countries in the world in the fight for Human Rights, the U.S. has often been found to be committing many of the same offenses as some of the countries they protest against, including things such as the exportation and importation of its prisoners for work, and the building and designation of private prisoners solely for the profit of the private corporations who fund these prisons.

In the past, we’ve shown to be hypocritical with our voice in other world matters like wartime issues and oil, but this is a domestic problem here at home that needs to be addressed. Currently, instead of being designed as rehabilitation facilities to help imprisoned people and decrease the chance of repeat offenders, it is currently designed to maximize profits for the private corporations funding these prisons & keep them full, instead of functioning as rehabilitation for incarcerated prisoners.
Private Corporations often are able to work through a lot of loopholes with their employment of prisoners too; “they don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time” (Pelaez 1). It is an issue that can be likened to the terms of slavery, as “All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells” (Pelaez 1). There are approximately 2 million prisoners in state, federal and private prisons across the U.S. – of these 2 million incarcerated inmates, there are over a million of them working for various industries around the U.S. Looking at the statistics for the issue is scary; “a half million more prisoners than China, a starring country in the issue of sweatshops labor, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world’s prison population, but only 5% of the world’s people” (Pelaez 2).

When you think about the fact that our unemployment rate is 6.7% with 10,351,000 unemployed - compared to the 50% employment rate among prisoners with over 1 million currently employed, it is not hard to understand why, with the employer protection they have, private corporations would rather outsource jobs to prisoners for feeble conditions and...

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