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Exclusive: Inmates to strike in Alabama, declare prison is “running a slave empire”
Salon ^ | April 18, 2014 | Josh Eidelson

Posted on 04/21/2014 8:34:06 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

Melvin Ray

Inmates at an Alabama prison plan to stage a work stoppage this weekend and hope to spur an escalating strike wave, a leader of the effort told Salon in a Thursday phone call from his jail cell.

“We decided that the only weapon or strategy … that we have is our labor, because that’s the only reason that we’re here,” said Melvin Ray, an inmate at the St. Clair correctional facility and founder of the prison-based group Free Alabama Movement. “They’re incarcerating people for the free labor.” Spokespeople for Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and his Department of Corrections did not respond to midday inquiries Thursday. Jobs done by inmates include kitchen and laundry work, chemical and license plate production, and furniture-making. In 2011, Alabama’s Department of Agriculture reportedly discussed using inmates to replace immigrants for agricultural work; in 2012, the state Senate passed a bill to let private businesses employ prison labor.

Inmates at St. Clair and two other prisons, Holman and Elmore, previously refused to work for several days in January. A Department of Corrections spokesperson told the Associated Press at the time that those protests were peaceful, and told AL.com that some of the inmates’ demands were outside the authority of the department to address. The state told the AP that a handful of inmates refused work, and others were prevented from working by safety or weather issues. In contrast, Ray told Salon the January effort drew the participation of all of St. Clair’s roughly 1,300 inmates and nearly all of Holman’s roughly 1,100. He predicted this weekend’s work stoppage would spread further and grow larger than that one, but also accused prison officials of hampering F.A.M.’s organizing by wielding threats and sending him and other leaders to solitary confinement. “It’s a hellhole,”(continued)

(Excerpt) Read more at salon.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; US: Alabama
KEYWORDS: alabama; blacks; prison; reparations
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Whatever could he mean by that?
1 posted on 04/21/2014 8:34:06 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The warden should put them on a hunger strike to go along with their protest strike. They aren’t going to need the energy anyway.


2 posted on 04/21/2014 8:39:12 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Obama's smidgens are coming home to roost.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
“They’re incarcerating people for the free labor.”

It's called "Paying your debt to society."

3 posted on 04/21/2014 8:41:01 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Thug is in for murder. He needs to be treated much worse than anyone would a slave.


4 posted on 04/21/2014 8:41:57 PM PDT by boycott
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

He means that many businesses have made partnerships with the prison system to have inmates make goods for almost nothing.

I support inmates having to pay society back for their crimes through acts that work for society’s good, but I don’t think I can support private enterprise taking advantage of those in captivity and require them to make saleable goods for almost no wage.

It creates an incentive for the prison system to be able to get as many people incarcerated as possible and have them work for companies for almost no wages, while the company sells those goods for a good profit.

Just to be clear, for those who think I am saying profit is a bad word. I am not saying that, but I am saying that there is a morality involved when deciding how a profit should be obtained. Creating a system where people are forced to labour for you, without benefitting for themselves, is not a moral way to make money no matter how you cut it.


5 posted on 04/21/2014 8:42:42 PM PDT by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults)
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To: Jonty30

If they didn’t want to be “slaves”, they should have thought about that before leading a life of crime.


6 posted on 04/21/2014 8:45:34 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

7 posted on 04/21/2014 8:45:36 PM PDT by bgill
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

All I could tell them is that they are damn lucky... lucky I’m not calling the shots. They haven’t SEEN hard labor


8 posted on 04/21/2014 8:45:44 PM PDT by FunkyZero (... I've got a Grand Piano to prop up my mortal remains)
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To: dfwgator

Working for a private company for close to no wages, so that they can profit off your behind, is not paying your debt to society, because society doesn’t see that money.


9 posted on 04/21/2014 8:45:49 PM PDT by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults)
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To: dfwgator

You gonna tell that to the people who get falsely convicted?

“You shouldn’t have been falsely convicted, so you deserve to be enslaved.”


10 posted on 04/21/2014 8:49:45 PM PDT by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Free labor? How much is their stay costing the tax payers of Alabama?


11 posted on 04/21/2014 8:50:04 PM PDT by Telepathic Intruder (The only thing the Left has learned from the failures of socialism is not to call it that)
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To: FunkyZero

I have no problem with having prisoners labour for their time. However, let them do chores that serve the public. Let them pick up trash and sweep the streets or pick vegetables on state farms. Work them 14 hours a day this way.

Just don’t have a system that incentivises convictions.


12 posted on 04/21/2014 8:51:25 PM PDT by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults)
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To: Jonty30

I agree with your argument, Jonty30. Well said.


13 posted on 04/21/2014 8:53:43 PM PDT by Always A Marine
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Convict labor and slavery have been recognized as two distinctly different institutions since the dawn of time. The former is punishment for conviction of a crime while the latter is the outright ownership of humans as chattel. This is an attempt to blur the two.


14 posted on 04/21/2014 8:53:55 PM PDT by SpaceBar
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To: dfwgator

Did these juveniles deserve to be convicted, so they could labour for free?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kids_for_cash_scandal


15 posted on 04/21/2014 8:54:43 PM PDT by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults)
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To: Jonty30
You gonna tell that to the people who get falsely convicted?

Why have prisons in the first place, then? There's always a risk that people who are falsely convicted are going to be there. If they are found to be falsely convicted, then they can sue to get their proper wages.

16 posted on 04/21/2014 8:55:00 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

““They’re incarcerating people for the free labor.” “

In Melvin’s case I think they have incarcerated him for being terminally stupid


17 posted on 04/21/2014 8:56:04 PM PDT by Nifster
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To: Jonty30

Just exactly WHAT jobs are being done for private companies??? Making license plates in all the states I know of is done by the correctional facilities. The rest of the jobs were all pertinent to the running of the prison. Just because there was TALK of using inmates for ag labor did not make it happen.

Frankly if you are in PRISON (not jail for the less than scummy folks of the world) then you are doing well to get three hots and a cot. You apparently think that felons ought to be treated in a way that does not acknowledge the fact that they have violated society’s laws.

While I do know some felons ( long story not interesting) I will tell you straight out that most ordinary citizens know ZERO folks who have ever served time in prison. Obey the law or suffer the consequences. Do not complain to me about it


18 posted on 04/21/2014 9:00:50 PM PDT by Nifster
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To: Jonty30

And tell us just exactly how many people is that???

Are you sure you belong here at FR


19 posted on 04/21/2014 9:02:22 PM PDT by Nifster
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Obviously he’s not being beaten enough.


20 posted on 04/21/2014 9:05:04 PM PDT by ROCKLOBSTER (Celebrate "Republicans Freed the Slaves" Month.)
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To: Nifster

I once had a client that manufactured all the components for office furniture and seating systems, etc. to sell as kits to prison systems that used inmate labor to assemble them. They were then sold to state offices by various states across the country.


21 posted on 04/21/2014 9:09:23 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate!”
Said by the “Captain” played by Strother Martin.
Movie Cool Hand Like.


22 posted on 04/21/2014 9:09:48 PM PDT by TaMoDee (Go Pack Go! The Pack will be back in 2014!)
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To: TaMoDee

“Like” = “Luke”! (I’m tired and the keys are close together.)


23 posted on 04/21/2014 9:12:14 PM PDT by TaMoDee (Go Pack Go! The Pack will be back in 2014!)
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To: Nifster

I guess that depends on what you believe what is meant by justice. For me, justice is a systematic tool for society to enact a level of punishment that is approximately equal to,the crime committed. I do not define justice as exacting as much punishment as possible from those duly convicted. I do not believe, as you seem to, that prisoners should be screaming in their cots at night over the horrors inflicted upon them during the day.

If that’s what the majority of Freepers believe, you’re right I probably don’t belong here. But it would seem to me that anybody who believes that prisoners should be subjected to Dante’s seven levels of hell probably aren’t fit for society in general.


24 posted on 04/21/2014 9:15:01 PM PDT by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults)
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To: boycott

It is amazing to me how cold hearted some on the right come across...actually it is many on the left that over react to that harshness which creates many liberals. Penitentiary comes from the word sentence, or repentance...which Jesus would like even from murderers. There are some pretty famous people who were killers that ended up great...Moses was one. Paul in the new testament another.


25 posted on 04/21/2014 9:15:24 PM PDT by fabian (" And a new day will dawn for those who stand long, and the forests will echo in laughter")
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To: Nifster

WHAT jobs are being done for private companies???

FWIW.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/privatization-of-the-us-prison-system/5377824


26 posted on 04/21/2014 9:17:06 PM PDT by MurrietaMadman
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Exactly what he said.


27 posted on 04/21/2014 9:23:57 PM PDT by RedHeeler
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Are the inmates forced to work, or do they volunteer for jobs?


28 posted on 04/21/2014 9:24:11 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: Jonty30
He means that many businesses have made partnerships with the prison system to have inmates make goods for almost nothing.

I don't know about other states, but I am pretty sure that is not true in California. For instance, they make license plates at Old Folsom and furniture at San Quentin, but I think it is only for state agencies.

29 posted on 04/21/2014 9:26:16 PM PDT by Mark17 (Chicago Blackhawks: Stanley Cup champions 2010, 2013. Vietnam Vet 70-71 Msgt US Air Force, retired)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

it is true that they are kept there for slave labor, but that’s not the reason they are there in the first place.


30 posted on 04/21/2014 9:37:15 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (Gone Galt; Not averse to Going Bronson.)
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To: Jonty30

I tend to agree with that. Prisoners are not there to make profits for companies but to pay their debt to the public. Making them into free labor for business invites large scale corruption into the legal system that has enough already. They can be worked plenty hard without going down that road.


31 posted on 04/21/2014 9:42:27 PM PDT by Free Vulcan (Vote Republican! You can vote Democrat when you're dead...)
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To: MurrietaMadman
I personally think that free enterprise taking over prisons from the government is a great thing. Private industry is always more efficient and accountable than the pencil-pushing bureaucrats with sinecures at the expense of taxpayers. The profit motive is good and the forces of the marketplace mean better run prisons.

It's similar to how Academi (once Xe and before that Blackwater) and Halliburton effectively can handle military tasking.

32 posted on 04/21/2014 9:42:56 PM PDT by re_nortex (DP - that's what I like about Texas)
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To: Jonty30
If that’s what the majority of Freepers believe, you’re right I probably don’t belong here. But it would seem to me that anybody who believes that prisoners should be subjected to Dante’s seven levels of hell probably aren’t fit for society in general.

For me, it depends on both the crime and the criminal. Someone in prison for fighting the IRS certainly don't merit harsh punishment which begs the question of why they were imprisoned in the first place. But for pedophiles, the skies the limit in my book. Likewise, criminal invaders (or euphemistically, "illegal aliens") should be subjected to harsh, painful punishment just shy of cruel and unusual. IMHO, of course.

33 posted on 04/21/2014 9:48:25 PM PDT by re_nortex (DP - that's what I like about Texas)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Imprisoning US Citizens for their choice on what they put in their OWN bodies is the real criminal act.

If the negro wants to consume drugs/poison, let him. Prohibition is just an end run around anti slavery laws.

Would you rather see them growing weed, sitting on their ass giggling, or out in the streets shooting up the town Al Capone style, while the poison junkies rob grannies to get a fix?

Unfortunately we have the latter at present. Face it prohibition does NOT do what you have been told it would do. It never has.

34 posted on 04/21/2014 9:55:07 PM PDT by rawcatslyentist (Jeremiah 50:32 "The arrogant one will stumble and fall ; / ?)
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To: Free Vulcan

Isn’t it possible that the money the companies pay to the prisons go towards the prisoners’ meals and housing, instead of making the money come from tax payers?


35 posted on 04/21/2014 9:57:17 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: dfwgator

We currently have that system in place. Are you complaining, citizen?


36 posted on 04/21/2014 10:00:39 PM PDT by RedHeeler
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To: dfwgator

In a perfect world it’d be great, in the real world you are opening the door to deep and widespread corruption. There will be a huge incentive to arrest, convict and serve very long prison sentences that are hugely out of proportion to the crimes committed, assuming one is even committed.

Given how out of control our legal system and police are already, I’m not sure I’d want to pour gas on the fire.


37 posted on 04/21/2014 10:04:38 PM PDT by Free Vulcan (Vote Republican! You can vote Democrat when you're dead...)
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To: Free Vulcan

I think there are more than enough legitimate prisoners to keep it going without having to railroad people.

Like Richard Pryor said, “Thank God we got penitentiaries.”


38 posted on 04/21/2014 10:06:25 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: boycott

Why wasn’t this punk executed?


39 posted on 04/21/2014 10:06:29 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“They’re incarcerating people for the free labor.”

The person making that statement is a lying, murdering sack of ****.

Melvin Ray is serving a term of life without parole, and he is serving that because he is a violent murdering stain on the community. He isn’t incarcerated because he somehow miraculously brings in more money than it costs the state to feed, house, police and corral his sorry murdering a**, he’s in prison for life BECAUSE HE MURDERED SOMEBODY.

Someone needs to smash those smuggled cell-phones to bits, shove them back up the inmate orifices used to smuggle them in, and put this murdering piece of filth in front of an executioner where he belongs.


40 posted on 04/21/2014 10:06:33 PM PDT by jameslalor
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To: jameslalor

It’s nothing but Leftist propaganda.

What jury or judge is thinking “Gee we need more free labor in prisons, so even though this guy is innocent, we’ll send him to jail anyway?”

Absurd.


41 posted on 04/21/2014 10:07:47 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: Jonty30

> He means that many businesses have made partnerships with the prison system to have inmates make goods for almost nothing.

Worked on a case several years ago where a guy owned a high end custom auto restoration business for the really high dollar vehicles. He would take them conpletely apart, strip the paint, then rebuild each one from the ground up and paint every single part. It was extremely detailed work. The finished autos were breathtaking. Somehow he made a deal with the warden at a state prison facility and they had inmates assisting him by working on some if the vehicles. If memory serves correct, they were removing the serial numbers on the vehicles. Bottom line, yeah this type of stuff really does happen and the inmates work on the “real cheap” but it would be better than sitting in a jail cell all day if you ask me.


42 posted on 04/21/2014 10:09:37 PM PDT by jsanders2001
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To: dfwgator

We had these programs in the ca youth authority

They got paid the same as the company’s employees on the street.

30% went to the state as compensation for the cost of incarceration

40%went to state victims of violent crime fund or towards reparations if that inmate had court ordered reparations

30%went to the. Inmates account for canteen and the rest when they paroled


43 posted on 04/21/2014 10:09:57 PM PDT by morphing libertarian
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To: jsanders2001

And are they not learning a skill they could apply in the real world once they get out? Sounds like a “Win-Win” to me.

Kind of hard translating making license plates as a viable skill on the outside.


44 posted on 04/21/2014 10:11:46 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: All

What does the US Constitution say about slavery:

Amendment XIII » Section 1

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, or any place subject to their jurisdiction


Is slavery or involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime allowable under our Constitution?


45 posted on 04/21/2014 10:12:08 PM PDT by AlmaKing
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
a leader of the effort told Salon in a Thursday phone call from his jail cell.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Does he have a pay phone in his cell or maybe a guard gave him a cell phone? Didn't realize 'they' were allowed phones in their cells, but if 'they' are getting cable TV and room service in their cells, it makes sense.

Nothing like being in jail, getting a job and forming a Union.

Sure was 'neighborly' of them to give the Facility a week to prepare for the shut down.

Maybe the Facility will bring in 'Scabs' to send a message to the "Union Inmates".

46 posted on 04/21/2014 10:15:18 PM PDT by xrmusn ((6/98 --"I would agree with you BUT that would make both of us wrong".))
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To: xrmusn

Salon is for the “Free Mumia” crowd.


47 posted on 04/21/2014 10:15:50 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Lz-whY0vWo


48 posted on 04/21/2014 10:25:02 PM PDT by kaehurowing (FIGHT BULLYING, UNINSTALL FIREFOX)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

While I have no problem with convicts being essentially slaves, as that is absolutely constitutional, he does have a point about the incentive to imprison as many people as they can due to the profit motive. It touches on the “school-to-prison pipelines” that get mentioned from time to time, particularly in light of the significant privatization of prisons over the last few decades. It’s a situation that’s ripe for abuse, and apparently some are doing so.


49 posted on 04/21/2014 10:30:53 PM PDT by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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To: jsanders2001

Well certainly. I support inmates learning working skills so that, those who get out, can start earning a real living and not have to fall back into crime to support themselves.

However, I also don’t want a justice system that is incentivised to convict people because businesses are willing to contribute to some politician’s, or DA’s campaign because they know that once elected they can start up a business in the prison and have people create profitable products or services for free.

One possible compromise is to allow businesses to intern inmates, who are due to eventually be released. The business can pay them the market rate, with the money going towards those the inmate has harmed or a state fund that would be used to pay victims for wrong done to them, until the inmate has paid fully for his crime.


50 posted on 04/21/2014 10:49:43 PM PDT by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults)
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