Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

Prison Slave Labor in the U.S.

Prison Slave Labor In The U.S.

By Joe Mowish

[The following is a letter to Business Week concerning an article they published on prison slave labor in China. ]

Ihave read your article of December 30, 1991 and I agree the use of slave labor anywhere is deplorable and the content of the article exposes a problem of serious magnitude.

However, as well as in China, there is an equally egregious situation currently in existence in our own country here and now , only with a different, more sophisticated structured approach comprised of psychological and behavioral mental brainwashing and the elimination of all alternatives, which forces the federal inmate into Federal Prison Industries' system of slave labor as opposed to China's "physical abuse" approach of converting human beings into prison slaves.

Quoting your article in part "...Prisoners in federal jails (USA) make everything from army helmets to office furniture, but they have only one buyer: The Federal Government, and the work programs at U.S. prisons are geared toward giving inmates skills." I would like for you to consider the following:

(1) Have any of you ever been to a Federal Prison Industries (UNICOR) factory and observed the assembly line there? Had you done this you would have viewed the inmates performing the same menial production line jobs they have performed day after day, month after month and year after year. There is no such thing as providing inmates with meaningful skills. Federal Prison Industries (trade name UNICOR) has one purpose for inmates and that is slave labor.

(2) First you must understand that Federal Prison Industries from its inception in 1934 has evolved into UNICOR, a business for profit, and to view UNICOR any other way defies common sense and logic. UNICOR competes directly with businesses in the private sector in the manufacturing and marketing of products and now services to the Federal Government. However, UNICOR has the benefit of minimal overhead as the Federal Government provides the physical facilities and UNICOR pays the workers slave wages with no employee benefits.

UNICOR attempts to foster their community image and further disguise their activities by publicizing their efforts to purchase "component parts" from the private sector. However, a slip up in UNICOR propaganda; their printed admission that the UNICOR slave factory in McKean, PA, is now producing "parts" that UNICOR had to purchase from the private sector in the past.

A further reading of BOP statements: the strategic plans for UNICOR highlights the strategy for UNICOR during 1990, which show UNICOR is a growing manufacturing and marketing concern, in direct competition with the businesses in the private sector. UNICOR is attempting to portray itself as an asset to the local community, thereby creating a cover and thus diverting attention from its actual intent, to rid itself of competition from the private sector by bankrupting its competition! This psychological ploy is reminiscent of the 1920's gangster Al Capone attempting to portray himself as a good guy and divert his criminality from the public's wrath by providing soup kitchens for the Chicago poor, hungry and homeless!

A recent article by A.M. Rosenthal, published by the New York Times news service, like your article, provides us with additional insight into China's prison slave labor gulags. Also contained in this article, next to the last paragraph, is a name very familiar to all of us and easily identifiable with the language of cover up, criminality and corruption, President Bush. Hopefully an investigation of UNICOR will begin and thereby expose to the public what Reagan/Bush have done to this well intentioned 1934 law, born out of a sincere governmental effort to rehabilitate prison inmates by providing job training skills preparatory to the inmate being returned to society and the public work place.

Reagan/Bush have redesigned, redirected and ravaged prison inmate rehabilitation job training and prison labor into a state-of-the-art attempt to turn our nation into gulags of long term prison inmate slavery, all of this while discussing their scheme as a benefit to the mislead, misinformed and/or uninformed community. Thus knowingly and purposefully causing the destruction and bankruptcy of hundreds of businesses and the loss of thousands of jobs in the private sector because they were unable to compete with UNICOR prison factories. Once you accept the easily proven premise of the Reagan/Bush attempt to re-institute slavery in America, the balance of the pieces of the UNICOR slave labor puzzle easily fall into place.
Joe Mohwish
c/o P.O. Box 920474
Norcross, GA 30092
(404) 449-5419

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login