The Prison Industrial Complex… What Is It?



“Prison Industrial Complex” is
a term that refers to private prison companies and businesses that
supply goods and services to government prison agencies. What is
interesting about this term and the concept of “prison labor” is how
it’s rise parallels the rapid expansion of the US inmate population. ~ Steve Nolan

The Prison Industrial Complex is big growth industry. While other
sectors of our economy continue to struggle in this recession, the
private prison industry is booming!

Is there a connection between this booming business and the record
rise in incarceration in this country? Let’s take a deeper look…

Did you know that for every 100,000 Americans, 743 of them reside behind bars? That is nearly 1 out 100 Americans!

Today, the United States has the highest prison population in the
world with more than 2 million people either incarcerated in prison or
in jail awaiting trail.

The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world, surpassing China, North Korea and Russia.

A study conducted by the Bureau of Justice in 2005 showed that a record 33-year continuous rise in the number of inmates in the United States despite falling crime rates.

To put this concept into perspective, consider the following:

The major myth associated with our Prison Industrial Complex is that
the rise in incarceration rates reflects a commensurate rise in crime. The fact is that crime rates have fallen. One of the driving forces behind the sudden rise in prison populations is a result of the “three strikes laws.”

It is estimated over 500,000 Americans are in prison for
drug-related, non-violent crimes.  Another driver is the continued
privatization of our prison system where these private companies are
actually incented to keep their jails full.

Case in point, CCA has an ultra-modern prison in Lawrenceville,
Virginia, where five guards on dayshift and two at night watch over 750
prisoners. In these prisons, inmates may get their sentences reduced
for “good behavior,”but for any infraction, they get 30 days added – which means more profits for CCA.

According to a study of New Mexico prisons, it was found that CCA inmates lost “good behavior time” at a rate eight times higher than those in state-run prisons.

Another big driving force behind our massive prison system is cheap labor.

37% states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private
corporations. The list of these corporations include: IBM, Boeing,
Motorola, Microsoft, ATT, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell,
Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel,
Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin,
Target Stores, and many more.

In private-run prisons, the working inmates receive as little as 17
cents per hour for a maximum of six hours a day, the equivalent of $20
per month. The highest-paying private prison “employer” is CCA in
Tennessee, where prisoners receive 50 cents per hour for what they call “highly skilled positions.”

Exploitation of cheap labor by Fortune 500 companies has competition
from the Military Industrial Complex. Did you know that prison labor —
with no union protection, overtime pay, vacation days, pensions,
benefits, health and safety protection, or Social Security withholding —
makes complex components for McDonnell Douglas/Boeing’s F-15 fighter
aircraft, the General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin F-16, and Bell/Textron’s
Cobra helicopter?

And that prison labor produces night-vision goggles, body armor,
camouflage uniforms, radio and communication devices, and lighting
systems and components for 30-mm anti-aircraft guns to 300-mm battleship
guns, along with land mine sweepers and electro-optical equipment for
BAE Systems’ Bradley Fighting Vehicle’s laser rangefinder? Prisoners are
also “hired” to recycle toxic electronic equipment and overhaul
military vehicles.

Labor in federal prisons is contracted out by UNICOR, previously
known as Federal Prison Industries, a quasi-public, for-profit
corporation run by the Bureau of Prisons. In 14 prison factories, more
than 3,000 prisoners manufacture electronic equipment for land, sea and
airborne communication. UNICOR is now the U.S. government’s 39th largest
contractor, with 110 factories at 79 federal penitentiaries.

The majority of UNICOR’s products and services are
on contract to orders from the Department of Defense. Giant
multinational corporations purchase parts assembled at some of the
lowest labor rates in the world, then resell the finished weapons
components at the highest rates of profit.

For example, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Corporation subcontract
components, then assemble and sell advanced weapons systems to the

I believe what former Oregon State Representative Kevin Mannix said
when he recently urged Nike to cut its production in Indonesia and
bring it to his state, telling the shoe manufacturer that “there won’t be any transportation costs, we’re offering you competitive prison labor (here).”

In other words…he is basically offering slave labor
While our so-called elected officials talk about the massive slave
labor camps in North Korea, I think one only has to look into the mirror
and let the facts speak for themselves.

Our prison industrial complex is getting out hand, much like our
military industrial complex. We need to stand up now and do something
about it, before it gets too powerful, too influential, and too out of

Until next time, keep your powder dry and your faith strong!


Steve Nolan – May 17, 2012 – TheIntelHub


Steve Nolan is the Co-Founder and Publisher of The Beacon.



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