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Sewing Our Own Destruction

When I saw Dan Pens' front page PLN article [Oct. '96] on UNICOR production of bullet resistant vests (there's no such animal as "bullet proof" vests) I was struck by the difference in perspective. I read some of the same material he relied on for his article. Sure, the BOP engages in unfair marketing practices -- and vests is not the only commodity they do this with -- which is worth hooting about, but what I saw as a critical issue in all this is the level of collaboration by prisoners engaging in such production.

On the one hand they are slave laborers and on the other hand they produce equipment designed to be used against the rest of us -- just as they (UNICOR workers) produced bomb components to drop on the Vietnamese years back, or on the Iraqis just a few years ago.

We're talking about prisoners making protective vests for federal prison guards -- from tower guards to goon squad thugs (apparently they are going to be making "slash resistant" vests next). How big a step is this from minimum/medium security prisoners who build maximum security prisons so they can get more good time and other privileges?

I realize the space limitations in PLN but it seems that Dan bypassed the issue of consciousness/collaboration to focus on unfair marketing strategies that will probably be forgotten by readers before the year is out.

R.L., Florence ADX

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