US prisoners are exploited slave labor

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by BA 48 Views comments - (Photo/Twitter) Prisoners are often excluded from discussions about labor rights in America. There can be no doubt that prisoners participate in the capitalist economy in a way similar to other workers, but are victims of some of its starkest inequalities. Prisons are also steadily becoming workhouses for goods made by some of the largest corporations in the world. This privatization as well as the racialized aspect of mass incarceration make it crucial that any discussion of labor under capitalism should also include a discussion of prison labor. The Corporate Accountability Lab lists three kinds of labor that are performed in prison: 1) in-house prison labor, or labor done by inmates to keep the mechanisms of the prison running; 2) work-release, where inmates provide labor to private companies off-site; and 3) prison industries, making goods for external sale. All of this labor contributes to surplus value for either the state or private industries.