America’s Hidden Slave Labor


Getting a job isn’t easy. Getting a job that you like, that pays okay, well that’s not so easy these days either. But in the prisons across the United States, work is abound. It is almost plentiful. But there’s a catch. A dark, sneaky one that the general public isn’t aware of.

The plentiful work found within the prison system, that could be used to employ thousands on the outside of the walls, is being given to inmates as slave labor. The governments have found a way to produce goods and services for minimal wages, bypassing normal regulations which govern overtime, sick leave and workplace injury. And when I say minimal wages, picture between 20 and 31 cents an hour. [1]


The workforce has always been in existence within the cellblocks – right back to the days of roadside chain gangs. But back then, it was a form of punishment, grueling labor for those who committed the crime. These days, it is a form of cheap labor that provides an easy path to production that could be used to employ those on the outside. Office furniture is built, telemarketers answer phones, uniforms sewn. These tasks are argued to provide a transition phase to those prisoners to be released; but it is nothing short of modern slavery, low cost work that remains unprotected.

One must question the true motives behind such a cause, and also the structures surrounding the practice.



[1] Allegra Kirkland. (20 October 2014) “There Are 870,000 Slaves in Modern-Day America.” Alternet (Retrieved 24 November 2014)



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  1. I have always find anonymous’s work and info insightful, but this is just lame and makes me wonder if this came from anonymous themselves as this is just a load of crap. Slave labour, i agree with that, but i dont agree with the rest that is being said. They work in prison and earn hardly anything yet they get fed and washed and have a roof over there head, ya ok it maybe not the roof they choose to be under but its there because they broke the law (supposedly) and so i feel part of that “slave labour” pays for the roof needed to be over there head. Ya it maybe taking work away from other people outside of prison, but still, people complain about there hard earned work taxes paying to feed inmates, you cant moan both ways. this post about slave labour is just a way to stir up shit, i didnt think anonymous would be soo blatent.

    • Get rid of the ‘They deserve it’ prejudice and it will all make sense, add a modicum of empathy and you’ll feel just as outraged. Prison is prison, slavery is slavery, 3 meals a day and a roof is not a gift and no way to live, especially since such an overwhelming number of those prisoners are there for non violent crimes.

        • What you don’t understand is that upon arrival the inmates gross value is approximately $25,000 a year. Think about that for a second…….. When you enter prison, they they automatically gross $25,000 a year, the amount paid to the prisoner is around $650 a year.

          • If you’re a first time offender the state pays for you..oops me a tax payer but if you’re a repeat offender in which most are then they have the option for work release..yes they still give them a choice and most do to make time go by outstanding court fines..have comp money for extras things like..soda..chips..snack cakes ..a television. And I can say so much more..

    • Please do some more research on this topic. This is very true and they are using non violent inmates for labor. Large corporations like below
      Prison Labor: Three Strikes and You’re Hired | Ella Baker ……/prison-labor-is…
      Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
      Jun 27, 2013 – While UNICOR is among the leaders in using prison labor, other companies are taking advantage of the contract opportunities, including Nordstrom, Eddie Bauer, Motorola, Microsoft, Victoria’s Secret, Compaq, IBM, Boeing, AT&T, Texas Instrument, Revlon, Macy’s, Target Stores, Nortel, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Honeywell, … Just to name a few. Also the government is using prison labor for manufacturing of helmet etc for the military. NOW you say why shouldn’t they be used for this? Well the problem is that legislature is lobbying for these private prisons which in turn higher mandated sentences for non violent crimes to keep their work force. It is slave labor! These private prisons are “for profit” which in turn they cut costs in meals, guards etc. I read a report that they are so cheap they had 5 guards for 750 prisoners. Plus the private prisons are costing taxpayers more! When ever you have a system where people can make profit on the backs of other people it is just a cesspool of corruption, being with the prisons, police, prosecutors, judges etc. Again read up on this, you will be horrified.

    • if the money they make off of the labour goes to paying for the roof over their heads and food and not into some rich assholes pocket tell me why you still have to pay taxes for them to be in jail?

    • A very large percentage of people in prisons are a direct result of them being failed by there community.. child abuse,un treated mental health issues, absent/ drug addict parents, poor education and limited opportunities and a fucked health care system pushes people down the path of crime,hopelessness and drug use. Your point would be valid if people didnt get jailed for minor drug,violence and driving offenses..

    • It’s called giving back to US, for the murder, rape, and all the other horrible crimes. Shut the fuck up, this whole article is stirring shit up.

      • Yes, the 0.1% that are there for the “really horrible” crimes, while about 95-98% of them are just there for stupid non-violent crimes (the war on drugs, is really the war on blacks, since despite blacks and whites committing about equal numbers of crimes, blacks are convicted 3-5 times as often, for 5-10 times as long…)

        Slavery never really vanished, it just changed names…

  2. That’s pretty shady. Then again it kind of makes sense in a very bad way. We have plenty of inmates in the USA and it’s not like they’d have a choice in the matter. Ever since I found Anonymous on YouTube I keep finding alternative explanations to events I’ve questions. Alternatives that actually make sense which is all the more frightening. These are hard times indeed…

  3. This is actually a good system. Now, the scum who eats away the taxdollars through the justice system can actually pay back some of their debt to the society they wronged.

    • You need to do some research on private prisons that are the source of this slave labor. The amount of corruption that is going on.
      Prison Labor: Three Strikes and You’re Hired | Ella Baker ……/prison-labor-is…
      Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
      Jun 27, 2013 – While UNICOR is among the leaders in using prison labor, other companies are taking advantage of the contract opportunities, including Nordstrom, Eddie Bauer, Motorola, Microsoft, Victoria’s Secret, Compaq, IBM, Boeing, AT&T, Texas Instrument, Revlon, Macy’s, Target Stores, Nortel, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Honeywell, …

    • madman, you clearly know nothing about inmates. the vast majority of these people aren’t serial killers and rapists. these are everyday people who sold some pot to pay the bills, or robbed a store to support the drug habbit they developed after an extremely hard life. sure, maybe they fucked up, but who hasn’t? not everyone’s had a good enough life to be able to buy all the things they need, and jobs can be very hard to come by. as it stands, we don’t have anywhere near enough jobs in america to give to all the citizens.
      there’s no reason why you should have to become a slave just because you’ve made some mistakes. we should be rehabilitating these people, not exploiting them.

  4. It is a curious thing that when for-profit prisons go up, so does the incarceration rate for things that never used to rate a prison sentence. It is one thing for a prison to employ inmates for a thing which generates some income for the prison…it is a whole ‘nother smoke for a prison to “rent out” inmates for industry outside the prison. That is the very definition of slavery, the involuntary servitude of one person for the benefit of another person.

  5. The United States leads the WORLD in the ratio of imprisoned people to population. Is it logical to assume that everyone there deserves to be there? It’s a matter of numbers and data, profit is increased by having a larger work force. It is ignorant to think that just because you have been a good little sheep and stayed within the fence that your fellow man in prison is somehow less worthy of basic human rights.

  6. Not only do we lead in ratio but also in shear numbers! The “land of the free” had more people incarcerated then any other nation including China and Russia! At the current rate, by the year 2060 one in three us males will either be incarcerated or on some form of post prison supervision. Mandatory minimums have takes the power out of the judge and jury’s hands and given it to prosecutors less worried about justice them their conviction rate. One strike you’re out. Here in Oregon we have Mandatory minimums for violent crimes and the total absence of self defense laws. It’s entirely up to the DA if a person defending himself or his property should be brought in front of a grand jury or not. Many take plea deals to avoid much longer terms even though in most states they would be innocent.

  7. I’m a recent member of “club fed” and i can tell you that most every person who works in Unicor feels as if they are being worked as a slave.. Producing millions of dollars worth of product each year.

  8. If anybody think that’s right y’all come down to gainsville fl n pick oranages n clean the highway in the 100 degree weather to get 2 meals a day and a vitamin one roll of toilet paper a week and if you want anything more your family gotta bust they ass on the outside while you work way over 40hrs a week for free for your family to put $ in your account and you have to pay 1.25 for a 50¢ bag of chips? Or 1.50 for a 50¢ honey bun? That’s justice? I’m not saying I didn’t deserve to go there I robed somebody out of young dumb uneducated discussions. But I’m still a was the sadest thing I have ever seen a 68 yr old man couldn’t work so the only way out of it is he’d break his own arm to get a pass from work duty because they told him if he didn’t go out on the truck he was gonna go to the hole sense 60 that man has broken his arm 22 times God only knows if he’s alive now. I pray for him n many others like him every night.

  9. When I was in prison and was in the Challenge incarceration Program I was basically worked as hard as I could be. And along with the pain came humiliation not to mention the (male) Sargeant blowing inmates in the woods on work crew. These are the conditions “inmates” endure.

  10. I’m no expert on the matter. Just a lowly fireman. What should be considered is that these people are in prison for a reason. Each has their own reason, but it’s because they didn’t obey the law one way or another, and were found by a jury of their peers to be guilty of their crime. They aren’t required to work, but if they work, they can get snacks, sodas, and other benefits. While this may seem barbaric to some, it keeps them occupied and out of trouble in prison. We can call it slavery from the comfort of Starbuck’s, but don’t forget that prison is intended as punishment. We can blame society, failures in justice, Republicans, and the “1%” for a crminal’s actions, but if you’ve been the victim of random violence, as I have, living in a city with one of the highest crime rates in the U.S., you start considering that each individual has a responsibility to his or her society to not harm others. Cops, firemen, jails, prisons, hospitals, ambulances. I wish we didn’t need any of them, but we do. When 3 year old McKenzie Elliott was struck in the head and killed by a stray bullet on August 1st, one would hope that justice would be served, but in a city that popularized the phrase “Snitches get Stitches” (which has also been used popularly in Ferguson, Missouri), as a peaceful citizen and neighbor, where should my concerns lie, with the families, or with the criminals.

  11. Seriously? This is a stupid post. You’re talking about modern slaves? They may be modern slaves, but they decided to throw away their freedom when they decided to murder an innocent family, or rob the elderly blind, or rape an innocent girl. They can keep their 21 cents and hour. This whole article is stirring shit up. Shut the fuck up.

  12. Prison slave labor has been going on for some time now. It is inhumane. Whats more disturbing is how big corporations can sidestep the employment laws and pay wages that are demoralizing and it is legal! The punishment for a crime is prison not labor camp. Inmates are not paying a debt to society by being a labor slave when the PROFIT is going to big corporations and jobs are TAKEN AWAY from American law-abiding citizens. Inmates are being USED by corporations to side-step employment laws and abusing inmates with barbaric working hours and conditions and these corporations are nothing more than criminals escaping paying FAIR wages. The irony is not missed. It is done for profit of the big corporation and I wouldn’t be surprised if prisons get a kickback and are also paid for each inmate that works. Logically society can’t expect to treat a human being like slaves inside prison walls and magically expect an inmate to be be released back into society and not have some type of fall-out from their slavery.

  13. Put the title ” America ” into it and you get a ton of reactions… put a different country which barely makes an appearance in the media and you won’t hear anyone.
    What a wonderfull fucking world. Besides who gives about damn prisons? We are worried about this!?!?!?!?? THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH ALL OF YOU INCLUDING ANONYMOUS. There are childeren who are currently seeing their parents heads getting blown in to 50 pieces in the middle east, people are dying all over the globe because they don’t have anything to eat, people are dying from diseases because money is more valuable then live… and now this piece of garbage as a post? Are you serious? Are you actually fucking serious? I’m so pissed at humanity, because humans only look at the things happening around them. Never looking a step further because why should we care? Why should we care about other people and why should we help the globe? No let’s just make a big fucking fuzz about … PRISONS!!! To most of you people, be ashamed of yourself.


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