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

Exploitation of Ohio Prison Labor

Ohio Penal Industries (OPI) in recent years has stepped up their campaign to entice local industry into using Ohio's cheap prison labor force to manufacture their products. Their efforts have been met with considerable success. A number of Ohio companies have voiced their interest in the prospect of exploiting Ohio's prison labor force. In fact, two companies have already signed private person contracts with OPI to use prison labor at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution (CCI).

In April of 1993, Konica Business Machines, Inc. (Konica) a Windsor, Connecticut based company, signed a private person contract with OPI to use prison labor to recondition Konica copiers. Prisoners fresh out of a vocational training program for Office Machine Repair at CCI were recruited to work under the OPI-Konica contract. Prisoners were paid between 35¢ and 47¢ an hour for their labor. The reconditioned copiers were eventually sold or leased by Konica to other companies in Ohio and other states.

The contract between OPI and Konica was terminated in May of 1994 because Konica experienced legal problems related to their contract with OPI. Evidently, there was some concerns about the legality of an out-of-State company using prison labor to produce products which were sold or leased on the open-market in Ohio. In addition, the reconditioned copiers were labeled as "Reconditioned By Konica," when in fact the copiers were reconditioned by prison labor. There were no markings or other indications on the finished products to show that prison inmates had actually reconditioned the copiers.

Recently, in August of 1995, OPI signed a private person contract with Perry Corporation (Perry), a copier dealership based in Lima, Ohio, to recondition copiers. The OPI work area for reconditioning copiers is being retooled and inmates reorganized to begin reconditioning copiers for Perry. The prisoners will be paid the same wages as in the past for private person contracts. The contract with Perry is for OPI to initially recondition 200 copiers. Perry has promised to use OPI and prison labor in the future to recondition several hundred copiers.

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