Skip to comments.Exclusive: Inmates to strike in Alabama, declare prison is “running a slave empire”
Posted on 04/21/2014 8:34:06 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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 thats the only reason that were here, said Melvin Ray, an inmate at the St. Clair correctional facility and founder of the prison-based group Free Alabama Movement. Theyre 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, Alabamas 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. Clairs roughly 1,300 inmates and nearly all of Holmans roughly 1,100. He predicted this weekends 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. Its a hellhole,(continued)
(Excerpt) Read more at salon.com ...
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.
It's called "Paying your debt to society."
Thug is in for murder. He needs to be treated much worse than anyone would a slave.
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.
If they didn’t want to be “slaves”, they should have thought about that before leading a life of crime.
All I could tell them is that they are damn lucky... lucky I’m not calling the shots. They haven’t SEEN hard labor
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.
You gonna tell that to the people who get falsely convicted?
“You shouldn’t have been falsely convicted, so you deserve to be enslaved.”
Free labor? How much is their stay costing the tax payers of Alabama?
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.
I agree with your argument, Jonty30. Well said.
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.
Did these juveniles deserve to be convicted, so they could labour for free?
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.
“Theyre incarcerating people for the free labor. “
In Melvin’s case I think they have incarcerated him for being terminally stupid
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
And tell us just exactly how many people is that???
Are you sure you belong here at FR
Obviously he’s not being beaten enough.
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.
“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate!”
Said by the “Captain” played by Strother Martin.
Movie Cool Hand Like.
“Like” = “Luke”! (I’m tired and the keys are close together.)
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.
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.
WHAT jobs are being done for private companies???
Exactly what he said.
Are the inmates forced to work, or do they volunteer for jobs?
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.
it is true that they are kept there for slave labor, but that’s not the reason they are there in the first place.
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.
It's similar to how Academi (once Xe and before that Blackwater) and Halliburton effectively can handle military tasking.
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.
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.
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?
We currently have that system in place. Are you complaining, citizen?
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.
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.”
Why wasn’t this punk executed?
Theyre 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.
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?”
> 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.
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
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.
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?
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
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".
Salon is for the “Free Mumia” crowd.
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.
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.