Observations of an Invisible Woman

Slavery By Another Name: Prison Labour

Tens of thousands of US inmates are paid from pennies to minimum wage—minus fines and victim compensation—for everything from grunt work to firefighting to specialized labor.

The breaded chicken patty your child bites into at school may have been made by a worker earning twenty cents an hour, not in a faraway country, but by a member of an invisible American workforce: prisoners. At the UnionCorrectional Facility, a maximum security prison in Florida, inmates from a nearby lower-security prison manufacture tons of processed beef, chicken and pork for Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises (PRIDE), a privately held non-profit corporation that operates the state’s forty-one work programs. In addition to processed food, PRIDE’s website reveals an array of products for sale through contracts with private companies, from eyeglasses to office furniture, to be shipped from a distribution center in Florida to businesses across the US. PRIDE boasts that its work programs are “designed to provide vocational training, to improve prison security, to reduce the cost of state government, and to promote the rehabilitation of the state inmates.”

And Each month, California inmates process more than 680,000 pounds of beef, 400,000 pounds of chicken products, 450,000 gallons of milk, 280,000 loaves of bread, and 2.9 million eggs (from 160,000 inmate-raised hens).Starbucks subcontractor Signature Packaging Solutions has hired Washington prisoners to package holiday coffees (as well as Nintendo Game Boys). Confronted by a reporter in 2001, a Starbucks rep called the setup “entirely consistent with our mission statement.”

Texas inmates produce brooms and brushes, bedding and mattresses, toilets, sinks, showers, and bullwhips.

In Texas, prisoners make officers’ duty belts, handcuff cases, and prison-cell accessories. California convicts make gun containers, creepers (to peek under vehicles), and human-silhouette targets.

A stitch in time: California inmates sew their own garb. In the 1990s, subcontractor Third Generation hired 35 female South Carolina inmates to sew lingerie and leisure wear for Victoria’s Secret and JCPenney. In 1997, a California prison put two men in solitary for telling journalists they were ordered to replace “Made in Honduras” labels on garments with “Made in the usa.”

Open wide: At California’s prison dental laboratory, inmates produce a complete prosthesis selection, including custom trays, try-ins, bite blocks, and dentures.

Constructive criticism: Prisoners in for burglary, battery, drug and gun charges, and escape helped build a Wal-Mart distribution center in Wisconsin in 2005, until community uproar halted the program. (Company policy says, “Forced or prison labor will not be tolerated by Wal-Mart.”)

On call: Its inmate call centers are the “best kept secret in outsourcing,” Unicor boasts. In 1994, a contractor for gop congressional hopeful Jack Metcalf hired Washington state prisoners to call and remind voters he was pro-death penalty. Metcalf, who prevailed, said he never knew.

Federal Prison Industries, a.k.a. Unicor, says that in addition to soldiers’ uniforms, bedding, shoes, helmets, and flak vests, inmates have “produced missile cables (including those used on the Patriot missiles during the Gulf War)” and “wiring harnesses for jets and tanks.” In 1997, according to Prison Legal NewsBoeing subcontractor MicroJet had prisoners cutting airplane components, paying $7 an hour for work that paid union wages of $30 on the outside.

prison labor3

Fidelity Investments (Fidelity). This “financial investment” corporation is involved in holding the retirement and 401(k) accounts of millions of Americans. Many of the largest companies in our country offer Fidelity Investments as the sole source of retirement investing for their employees.

Fidelity was previously identified as a funder of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in an earlir Insourcing blog. ALEC is deeply invested in supporting Corrections Corporation of American (CCA) and Geo Group (Geo) – that are both corporate members of ALEC. ALEC has willingly accepted responsibility for enactment of laws authorizing and increasing the use of inmates in manufacturing of products as well as the housing of those inmates by private corporations such as CCA and Geo.

Unfortunately if your retirement savings, 401(K) or other investments are held by Fidelity, chances are some of your money is invested by Fidelity in either the use of prison labor or in other operations related to the prison industrial complex (PIC).

McDonald’s too, although they are not “directly” using inmate labor in their food service operations, they are dependent upon the use of inmate labor to reduce costs associated with those operations. The way they do this is by contracting to purchase their uniforms and some of the plastic utensils provided to customers from a company using inmate labor to make those uniforms and utensils. The uniforms are made by Oregon Inmates. Wendy’s has also been identified as relying upon prison labor to reduce their cost of operations – and they fund ALEC.

Two other U.S. companies relying upon prison labor for products sold in their stores are K-Mart and J.C. Penny. Both sell Jeans made by inmates in Tennessee prisons. The same prison in Tennessee provides labor for Eddie Bauer’s wooden rocking horses.


What about services such as Insurance? Banking? Utilities – gas, oil, electricity? Prescription drugs? Are all of these services or commodities tied to prison labor and the PIC? Unfortunately, yes. Many insurance companies are tied to ALEC…as are corporations involving utilities provided to you in your city or town. To name jut a few brand names you’ll recognize that are invested in prison labor or PIC through ALEC are:


BANKS: American General Financial Group, American Express Company, Bank of America, Community Financial Services Corporation, Credit Card Coalition, Credit Union National Association, Inc., Fidelity Inestments, Harris Trust & Savings Bank, Household International, LaSalle National Bank, J.P. Morgan & Company, Non-Bank Funds Transmitters Group

ENERGY PRODUCERS/OIL: American Petroleum Institute, Amoco Corporation, ARCO, BP America, Inc., Caltex Petroleum, Chevron Corporation, ExxonMobil Corporation, Mobil Oil Corporation, Phillips Petroleum Company.

ENERGY PRODUCERS/UTILITIES: American Electric Power Association, American Gas Association, Center for Energy and Economic Development, Commonwealth Edison Company, Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc., Edison Electric Institute, Independent Power Producers of New York, Koch Industries, Inc., Mid-American Energy Company, Natural Gas Supply Association, PG&E Corporation/PG&E National Energy Group, U.S. Generating Company.

INSURANCE: Alliance of American Insurers, Allstate Insurance Company, American Council of Life Insurance, American Insurance Association, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Corporation, Coalition for Asbestos Justice, (This organization was formed in October 2000 to explore new judicial approaches to asbestos litigation.” Its members include ACE-USA, Chubb & Son, CNA service mark companies, Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., Kemper Insurance Companies, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, and St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company. Counsel to the coalition is Victor E. Schwartz of the law firm of Crowell & Moring in Washington, D.C., a longtime ALEC ally.)
Fortis Health, GEICO, Golden Rule Insurance Company, Guarantee Trust Life Insurance, MEGA Life and Health Insurance Company, National Association of Independent Insurers, Nationwide Insurance/National Financial, State Farm Insurance Companies, Wausau Insurance Companies, Zurich Insurance.

PHARMACEUTICALS: Abbott Laboratories, Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Bayer Corporation, Eli Lilly & Company, GlaxoSmithKline, Glaxo Wellcome, Inc., Hoffman-LaRoche, Inc., Merck & Company, Inc., Pfizer, Inc., Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of
America (PhRMA), Pharmacia Corporation, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, Inc., Schering-Plough Corporation, Smith, Kline & French, WYETH, a division of American Home Products Corporation.

MANUFACTURING:American Plastics Council, Archer Daniels Midland Corporation, AutoZone, Inc. (aftermarket automotive parts), Cargill, Inc., Caterpillar, Inc., Chlorine Chemistry Council, Deere & Company, Fruit of the Loom, Grocery Manufacturers of America, Inland Steel Industries, Inc., International Game Technology, International Paper, Johnson & Johnson, Keystone Automotive Industries, Motorola, Inc., Procter & Gamble, Sara Lee Corporation.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS: AT&T, Ameritech, BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc., GTE Corporation, MCI, National Cable and Telecommunications Association, SBC Communications, Inc., Sprint, UST Public Affairs, Inc., Verizon Communications, Inc.

TRANSPORTATION: Air Transport Association of America, American Trucking Association, The Boeing Company, United Airlines, United Parcel Service (UPS).

OTHER U.S. COMPANIES: Amway Corporation, Cabot Sedgewick, Cendant Corporation, Corrections Corporation of America, Dresser Industries, Federated Department Stores, International Gold Corporation, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Microsoft Corporation, Newmont Mining Corporation, Quaker Oats, Sears, Roebuck & Company, Service Corporation International, Taxpayers Network, Inc., Turner Construction, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

ORGANIZATIONS/ASSOCIATIONS: Adolph Coors Foundation, Ameritech Foundation, Bell & Howell Foundation, Carthage Foundation, Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, ELW Foundation, Grocery Manufacturers of America, Heartland Institute of Chicago, The Heritage Foundation, Iowans for Tax Relief, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation of Milwaukee, National Pork Producers Association, National Rifle Association, Olin Foundation, Roe Foundation, Scaiffe Foundation, Shell Oil Company Foundation, Smith Richardson Foundation, Steel Recycling Institute, Tax Education Support Organization, Texas Educational Foundation, UPS Foundation.

{Recopied from prisonmovement.wordpress.com. Thanks!}


What a list! Did you catch the NRA on the list? Coincidence? I think not. Makes you think twice about supporting JewISH owned companies, doesn’t it? Why support a company who is vested in your eternal enslavement? Why give them your money?

In the words of Amos Wilson:

Black people need to stop living in a fantasy...”

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26 thoughts on “Slavery By Another Name: Prison Labour

  1. Nothing has changed about the oppressive nature of pale lepers but the fact they have conviced most blacks they are no longer slaves

  2. Kal

    I’m throughly disgusted. And Walmart, Microsoft and Facebook are all investing in privatized prisons.

  3. mstoogood4yall on said:

    so i see slavery is still building this country. They gotta use cheap prison labor and go overseas wow, they love saving money. I’m not surprised by walmart being in on it, if they use cheap chinese labor and overwork and underpay them its not far off that they’d use prison labor. I do think the inmates should be doing something, they are not on vacation but maybe they should be paid more especially the ones who will get out. when u think about it that is how black ppl are in america. we get paid by white people, then we go spend our money at their stores and get paid less than others. Prisoners work for little money then they spend that money at the prison commissary, that money goes right back into the prison.

  4. Tyrone on said:


    Slavery of black people is real on this planet. Recently, i worked with a contractor who installed steel doors for jails and prisons. I’m not gonna say the name of the company, but, they make a boatload of money building slave quarters(jails) all over the country. We actually believe that slavery is over? Black people are no more free today than we were 50 or 60 years ago. Yes, we’re free in the physical sense, however, it means nothing in this day and time. Blackmen think and act in slavish ways, and we see the tragic results of a “Willie Lynch” mindset that has set us back god knows how many years. A note to black people…whenever our race is on the verge of moving forward in this country, roadblocks are put up to stop us. As our foreparents were emerging out of slavery and finding our way thru Reconstruction in the late 1860s into the late 1870s, What popped up? The KKK came into existence around the same time. We gained our so-called freedom in 1964 with the Civil Rights Act, Really? Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson comes up with a great idea. Uncle Sam will take the place of blackmen in the home, the rest is history. We all know the deal by now. Black folk should stop saying that they’re free, Ain’t True! Maybe if we identified the reality of our situation, we could do something about it? I’m still a slave just like the sistas and brothas locked up. Any rogue cop could stop me for no reason and accuse me of some bulls**t, and the powers that be will back them up because it’s one less nigger on the street…Their Thinking!


  5. mstoogood

    That’s why I keep on stressing buy black, support our own. Black farmers up here can’t stay in business over one year due to lack of support.

  6. Ty

    What gets me angry is how they use us and need us to survive yet treat us like dogs.

  7. mstoogood4yall on said:

    actually i think they treat dogs better than us, they were more outraged at the dogs killed by michael vick than at trayvon martin being killed.

  8. Courtney H on said:

    I mentioned this in an earlier thread. The documentary “The House I Live In” deals with the PIC and for-profit prisons. The doc also shows a CCA convention where among other things, an electric chair is displayed and tested! Furthermore, the doc looks at the powder cocaine vs. crack cocaine disparities in sentencing, showing how black and brown people receive harsher sentences for crack than white users of powder cocaine.

    Would you believe that when this was first brought up during the 90s, some right-wing idiot tried to say that crack sentences were harsher because of the violence surrounding crack.? Some commentator responded by reminding people that powder cocaine is surrounded by violence, too, what with drug cartels blowing passenger planes out of the sky to kill rival drug lords.

  9. Kushite Prince on said:

    Another Sister Truth masterpiece! A very informative post!

  10. mary burrell on said:

    As I have always said prisons are nothing more than modern day plantations. This country is in retrograde. And with all the fuckery going on in the United States Supreme Court, a large segment of white America wants blacks back in the old days before the civil rights era.

  11. This is a very good post. AmeriKKKlan is using their prison system to basically target and enslave Black males. Prisons are nothing more than modern day Jim Crow or slavery.

    I watched an documentary on this topic too.

  12. I agree, Mary.

  13. Well said and it is getting worse now that the Voting Rights Act was struck down and many Whites want to bring this country back to pre Civil Rights era.

    This is what my mother taught me, times changed, people haven’t.

  14. It seems a prison sentence is a sure (and perhaps soon the only) way to be employed. The rich get richer at the expense of the job seeking public.

  15. very informative vids thanks for posting them Adeen

  16. Costa, Starbucks, and Neros, etc etc are ALL OWNED by FAKEjews. It cost them Less than one cent to make ANY size cup of coffee. In Ethiopia were they get most of the coffee, they pay approx. eight cents for a 100 pound bag of coffee. Calls by the farmers to pay proper cost goes on heeded because of something called “free markets”. Free for whom?? The Ethiopians are NOT the only peoples they Exploit. This is just one more Economic Prison without the bars and we as a people HAVE GOT to Overstand that we have TO STOP buying as much as possible from people who have NO INTEREST in our well being EXCEPT Money Interest! We have to buy FROM OUR OWN, how hard is that?? Many of us don’t even think about money when we spend 2-300 dollars ON some stupid shoes! Yet, complain when one of us charges a resonable price for our goods, at least it STAYS IN the community. Dr Del Jones, once said, that,” we play games with ourselves, BECAUSE we Don’t want to take action”. It’s time to stop playing, because Nobody really wants us IN the Playground.

  17. You are welcome. I watched them several years back and I was shocked. I wanted others to know about these videos too.

  18. You are correct. And those fake Jews you talk about are actually considered Gentiles in the Bible. Askenazi Jews are Gentiles because they came from Japheth not Shem. And Japheth is the progenitor of the Gentile races, which is the White race. The White man could never be an authenic Jew.

    Askenazi Jews aren’t evil people at all but the ones in charge are.

  19. Courtney H on said:

    @ blkwmn1:

    Several years ago, C-SPAN used to air a program hosted by Tavis Smiley about the state of black America. On one of the programs, Lani Guinier discussed how prisons are being placed in white, rural communities with the promise of numerous new jobs. She stated that, however, the jobs that are created by prisons are few. Furthermore, she said that prisons full of black and brown inmates are placed into these white, rural communities in order to up the communities’ numbers for the Census count. The prisoners, though they cannot vote because they are in prison, are counted in the Census in that county! Because of the prisoners being counted in the Census, the communities receive more federal money. However, the prisons do not produce as many jobs as the proponents of the prisons would have the townspeople to believe.

  20. D>S> on said:

    How can I be void of these evils? How can I not support these bastards? I buy black, shop black but I do not own a business. My 401(k) is w/fidelity. I ask the questions above for guidance not sarcasm. If I owned a business how could I provide insurance for myself, workers under a black umbrella? Are there black distributors that can provide goods & services for most if not all businesses owned by albinoids? I know there are black distributors but could we meet the demand of NASA, cruise ships, airplanes or some major technological necessity? If so, (I know we’re more than capable) who are these people, black owned firms, businesses, corporations? Once again, I don’t ask in sarcasm or impossibility. I want my discipline of group economics to be on point. You get the just of my questions. Sis, could provide us w/some names or info major BLACK anything/everything that could eliminate the use of them in our plans yet strengthen ties between small business (looking to to expand/become a…) & major business owners? Maybe you have already.

  21. D.S.

    Later on, ill give some more info on this matter. I wrote several posts on how to “drop out” of the system.

  22. C

    Amos Wilson died begging us to support our own. Claude Anderson quit asking us to support our own when he begged us to invest in the water companies BEFORE they took off. We ignored him.

    Marcus Garvey begged us to put “race first.” Khalid Muhammud begged us to “get it together” before he was murdered.

    How many of our prophets must die begging blacks to “get it together?” When will we ever get our shit together? When we’re in the gas chamber? When the outdoor ovens reach 200 degrees?

  23. Tyrone on said:


    Our people perish for a lack of knowledge. Those that are in bondage already, it’s up in the air. They’re already marked…no job, no vote, no gun, no respect…Slave!


  24. Pingback: ‘We believe we may have found a human head’: Chilling 911 call released in search for boy, 11, who was ‘killed and buried in shallow grave by his half-brother’ | Kemetix

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