Skip to comments.U.S. farmers use inmates to harvest fields
Posted on 08/22/2007 4:37:51 PM PDT by nypokerface
PICACHO, Ariz., Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Western U.S. farmers are increasingly using inmates to harvest their fields as states crack down on hiring undocumented workers.
Colorado started sending female inmates to harvest onions, corn and melons this summer, and Iowa is considering a similar program, The Christian Science Monitor reported.
While inmates have worked for private farms in Arizona for almost 20 years, legislation signed this summer fining employers for knowingly hiring undocumented workers has brought growing numbers of farmers to the Arizona Department of Corrections for help, the newspaper said.
Unlike other sectors, where federal regulations require inmate workers be paid a prevailing wage and receive workers' compensation, agricultural companies can hire state inmates on a contract basis, the Monitor said.
The workers must get at least $2 an hour. Thirty percent of their wages go to prison room and board, with the rest going to court-ordered restitution for victims, any child support and a mandatory savings account.
The farms pay for transportation from the prison to the work site and for prison guards.
While farmers like the idea, the United Farm Workers of America says inmate labor undermines unionized labor.
"It's rather insulting that (Arizona) would look so poorly on farm workers that they would attempt to use inmates (to perform the work)," spokesman Marc Grossman says.
LOL much better than the one I drug up!
All right. Let's start the 'Organ' Harvest next...
It effectively puts slave labor into competition with free labor, distorting market forces. It creates a pool of sub-minimum-wage workers that politicians can use to reward cronies. It distracts prisons from their core functions of protecting the public and rehabilitating offenders. It creates an incentive for prisons to hold on to the most profitable inmates, not the most dangerous.
The history of prison labor for hire is not a pretty one. From Dickensian debtors' workhouses to leased black work crews in the post-bellm South, it is a system that invites abuse. It is not a camel's nose that I want to let into the tent.
I have no problem with work as a condition of incarceration -- the state has plenty of jobs that need doing. Georgia is second, I'm told, after Texas in its use of prison labor -- they perform landscaping and maintenance at state parks, make and bottle cleaning products for use in state offices, build and repair furniture for state offices, and of course perform the classic duties like picking up litter on the highway and stamping out license tags. Running printing presses for state printing jobs. Tasks that both benefit the state and give them skills for when they get out.
When my dad worked at the prison in Buford, GA, there was one good ol' boy who took the work crews out each morning. They weren't chain gangs in the sense that they weren't chained to each other, but otherwise it's pretty much the same vibe. This' good ol' boy had the same routine day after day, with little variation.
"Men," he would say to the prisoners lined up alongside the reinforced school bus, "The state tells me if one of y'all tries to run, I am expected to fire a warning shot."
Shoosh-BLAM! as he racked his 12-gauge and fired it in the air.
"That was your warning shot. Get on the bus."
Personally, I would like to see the city of Detroit utilize chain gangs to clean up the neglected areas of the city. I think the reason they don't is due to a union thing.........
“She has no idea what she’s doing”
“She knows exactly what she’s doing.”
A wise friend of mine dubbed Cool Hand Luke the sweatiest movie ever made. Can’t argue. A distant second is A Time to Kill, which gets points for sweaty Ashley Judd. After that, Apocalypse Now, I guess. Brando certainly sweats enough for ten men.
"What we need is a better class of inmate."
-- Huey Long
Call your Congressional traitor and ask.
And Illegal Immigrant labor doesn’t undermine unionized labor? Does the UFW represent illegals?
Good idea. I’ll use that toll free # that was setup for all the illegals during shamnesty.
This story is a complete lie. ;)
Wait! I wonder if the prisoners are illegals...
Now if they would just pay farmers to harvest ILLEGALS we might have something.
ok by me. Welfare recipiens work program... at least they’d be earning their keep a bit.
Wonder how many inmates that are working the farms are also illegal aliens serving a sentence for crimes committed while here in the US as an illegal alien. Even one would be some kind of poetic justice, wouldn’t it?
Say no more. Better to use American criminals than foreign criminals. So what's the damn beef?
Yes. UFW is the union founded by Caesar Chavez, the group that had liberals boycotting grapes through the '70s and '80s.
The Arizona State Prison at one time was almost entirely self-sustaining. They grew their own beef, vegetables, wheat and cotton. They made their own furniture and anything else that was needed on a regular basis. It was local businesses which insisted that the practice stop. They were missing out on the lucrative contracts for supplying the inmates.