Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Intercept: The largest prison strike in U.S. history has been going on for nearly a week, but there's a good chance you haven't heard about it. For months, inmates at dozens of prisons across the country have been organizing through a network of smuggled cellphones, social media pages and the support of allies on the outside. The effort culminated in a mass refusal to report to prison jobs on September 9, the anniversary of the 1971 Attica prison uprising. "This is a call to action against slavery in America," organizers wrote in an announcement that for weeks circulated inside and outside prisons nationwide, and that sums up the strikers' primary demand: an end to free prison labor. "Forty-five years after Attica, the waves of change are returning to America's prisons. This September we hope to coordinate and generalize these protests, to build them into a single tidal shift that the American prison system cannot ignore or withstand."

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MSM is strangely silent about all of this.

#1 | Posted by danni at 2016-09-21 08:39 AM | Reply

So, if prisoners strike, does that mean they just sit in their cells and do nothing - like always? Who friggin' cares? They're prisoners.

#2 | Posted by cookfish at 2016-09-21 08:52 AM | Reply

MSM is strangely silent about all of this.

Felons must be pro Trump.

#3 | Posted by cookfish at 2016-09-21 08:53 AM | Reply

#2 Cookfish not understanding just how prisoners are used by corporate america. Surprised? No.

#4 | Posted by 726 at 2016-09-21 09:06 AM | Reply

But the issue that has unified protesters is that of prison labor -- a $2 billion a year industry that employs nearly 900,000 prisoners while paying them a few cents an hour in some states, and nothing at all in others. In addition to work for private companies, prisoners also cook, clean, and work on maintenance and construction in the prisons themselves -- forcing officials to pay staff to carry out those tasks in response to work stoppages. "They cannot run these facilities without us," organizers wrote ahead of the strike. "We will not only demand the end to prison slavery, we will end it ourselves by ceasing to be slaves."

#5 | Posted by SheepleSchism at 2016-09-21 10:21 AM | Reply

Attica prison for blacks, probably the worst in the nation. Prisoners took ten guards hostage and demanded improved conditions. Governor Rockefeller sent the police and national guard in with guns blazing killing all their own guards and shooting to kill known prison leaders. With 39 dead Nixon sent Rockefeller a congratulations for handling the situation so well. The prisoners did not kill anyone.

For profit prisons have no interest in spending any money on health care, food or anything else. Everyone in prison may not be candidates for rehabilitation. But the way things are run today its a miracle if anyone is today. Prison is a criminal training ground.

#6 | Posted by nutcase at 2016-09-21 10:53 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

strangely silent about all of this.

#1 | POSTED BY DANNI

I heard about several days ago.

It was on NPR.

Of course.

#7 | Posted by donnerboy at 2016-09-22 01:10 AM | Reply

Prisons should not be selling prison labor to private companies unless the prisoners agree to it, otherwise it will be ripe for corruption.

#8 | Posted by bored at 2016-09-22 02:17 AM | Reply

If you can't figure out why for-profit prisons are wrong, that means you can't figure out why profiting from crime is wrong, which means you can't figure out the whole "right vs. wrong" thing in the first place.

But you probably understand profits are good, and criminals are bad.

#9 | Posted by snoofy at 2016-09-22 02:20 AM | Reply

Idle hands are the devil's workshop ~ and all that stuff.

I agree with COOKFISH. I don't see how prison labor is "slavery." Prisoners covet these work details to make the time go by faster. It's not like they're being forced to work. They're not supposed to be paid minimum wage like they live on the outside.

Putting in an 8-hour work day is a foreign concept to some of these criminals. A job gives them discipline and a few bucks in their commissary account. A job makes a man feel better about himself.

It's not like they're being forced to wear leg irons and dig ditches on Devil's Island.

#10 | Posted by Twinpac at 2016-09-22 06:22 AM | Reply | Funny: 1

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Reread the 13th Amendment. Penal slavery is legal. Most states have twofers and even threefers.(getting three days credit for one day on a sentence for playing the game). Nixon's war on drugs was against the hippies and blacks, grass and heroin, his political enemies, according to Eric Holliman. But have no doubt, over half the prison population is serving time for violent offenses. Drugs were just the way to make money. Addicts seldom see the inside anymore, unless they are a total rehab failure. My neighbor just finished six months involuntary rehab for opiate addiction,(laratabs) which is not near as bad as my friend growing up who got three years for heroin possession back in the 70s. He lived next door. What scares us all is crank, the one drug that will make it's user psychotic in a few years. (Ax murder crazy).
Before drugs were outlawed, organized crime made money the old fashion way, extortion, prostitution, loan sharking, gambling,labor unions, etc. If you want to encourage something add the magic ingredient, money. Regular criminals robbed stores, stole stuff and occasionally tried to rob a bank. They still do, but some one who wants to make easy money with less risk will retail drugs. 100% profit, no taxes.

#11 | Posted by docnjo at 2016-09-22 06:53 AM | Reply

I agree with COOKFISH. I don't see how prison labor is "slavery." Prisoners covet these work details to make the time go by faster. It's not like they're being forced to work. They're not supposed to be paid minimum wage like they live on the outside.
#10 | Posted by Twinpac at 20

"That forced labor remains legal in prison is unknown to many Americans, and that's something strikers hope to change with this action. But it's also a sign of how little the general public knows about the country's massive prison system. "A nation that imprisons 1 percent of its population has an obligation to know what's happening to those 2.4 million people,"

I see that the IWW was involved with this, God you got to just love the Wobblies

By the way by prisoners being paid from nothing to a few cents a hour your taking real jobs from people not in jail

#12 | Posted by PunchyPossum at 2016-09-22 07:26 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Nonsense, PUNCHY

#13 | Posted by Twinpac at 2016-09-22 07:37 AM | Reply

Punchy is spot on. Forced labor does not "make a man feel better about himself."

And every job they're doing for private companies at pennies on the dollar is a job someone else could be doing for minimum wage at least.

#14 | Posted by LIVE_OR_DIE at 2016-09-22 08:45 AM | Reply

"Nonsense, PUNCHY"

Hardly nonsense, it's a fact.

#15 | Posted by danni at 2016-09-22 09:35 AM | Reply

"Identifying Businesses That Profit From Prison Labor"

www.popularresistance.org

#16 | Posted by danni at 2016-09-22 10:35 AM | Reply

I'm actually fine with prisoners in government prisons doing forced menial labor so long as its not cruel and unusual nor unnecessarily long.

That said, I'm not okay with it in private prisons because it can so easily be abused. It also creates the incentive to keep prisoners to make money on side contracts.

#17 | Posted by Sycophant at 2016-09-22 11:31 AM | Reply

"Addicts seldom see the inside anymore, unless they are a total rehab failure. My neighbor..."

According to the Bureau of Prisons, there are 207,847 people incarcerated in federal prisons. Roughly half (48.6 percent) are in for drug offenses. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are 1,358,875 people in state prisons. Of them, 16 percent have a drug crime as their most serious offense.

According to a 2014 Human Rights Watch report, "tough-on-crime" laws adopted since the 1980s, have filled U.S. prisons with mostly nonviolent offenders.[15] This policy failed to rehabilitate prisoners and many were worse on release than before incarceration.

en.m.wikipedia.org

#18 | Posted by donnerboy at 2016-09-22 11:43 AM | Reply

As the definition of "Criminal Activity" gets broader and broader, we can all become criminals. When we are all finally incarcerated, will we willingly work for free?

#19 | Posted by john47 at 2016-09-22 11:57 AM | Reply

Criminal Justice Reform, please.

#20 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2016-09-22 01:28 PM | Reply

Why do you people keeping using the word "forced?"

Prisoners aren't forced to work at these jobs. They covet those jobs and earn them by good behavior.

The work puts a few bucks in their commissary account for small luxuries they wouldn't have otherwise.

They're not in prison to be pampered. It's a rough way to live. But nobody is herding them into a sweat room at the point of a gun.

#21 | Posted by Twinpac at 2016-09-22 02:05 PM | Reply

It's a rough way to live. But nobody is herding them into a sweat room at the point of a gun.
#21 | POSTED BY TWINPAC

They don't have to be for it to be considered wrong. Telling that you seem to believe so.

#22 | Posted by rstybeach11 at 2016-09-22 02:11 PM | Reply

Why do you people keeping using the word "forced?"
#21 | POSTED BY TWINPAC AT 2016-09-22 02:05 PM

Because it's in the article.

#23 | Posted by LIVE_OR_DIE at 2016-09-22 02:21 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Bring back the county work farms. I wrote a research paper in the early 90's about the results of criminal justice reform 1950-1990. In the 50's and 60's and even the 70's, pretty much every county in the nation had some sort of county work farm or a supervised work release program. The jist of it was that the farms were pretty much self-sufficient, provided jobs, and some training, the inmates were actually paying their debt to the society that they had harmed, and provided a great incentive not to come back. Terms were shorter and when released, by far and large the convicts were able and ready to return to civilization. And the community embraced it. I remember growing up in NE Texas farmers waiting for the release dates of certain inmates with a job ready for them. And the recidivism rate was miniscule compared to today. Hell, most of the camps that we researched didn't even have fences. Unfortunately, times have changed. People who create crimes in a community no longer repay their debt but rather serve time in a warehouse.

#24 | Posted by bogey1355 at 2016-09-22 05:32 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

There's probably lots of anecdotal stories of prisoners who would opt to spend their days working outside the prison walls ~ if for no other reason than to escape the dreary everyday atmosphere of life behind a wall.

But the complaint in this article seems to be about prisons using cheap prisoner labor to make a profit. I don't find that to be unusual. In fact, if that profit contributes to the upkeep of the prison and the prisoners, it's just that much less coming out of the taxpayers pockets.

There are prisons who run their own farms, raise their own beef and dairy cattle. All manned by prisoners. I personally know a prisoner whose job it was to feed and care for the mounted patrol horses.

There was nothing "forced" about it. They worked to earn the privilege and worked to keep the privilege.

#25 | Posted by Twinpac at 2016-09-22 06:27 PM | Reply

#25

So because you know one prisoner who wasn't forced into caring for some horses, that proves it never happens?

"That forced labor remains legal in prison is unknown to many Americans, and that's something strikers hope to change with this action. But it's also a sign of how little the general public knows about the country's massive prison system."

Indeed.

#26 | Posted by LIVE_OR_DIE at 2016-09-22 07:24 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

I'm sure the millions of people who are or were incarcerated know what its all about. They all have families and I think the inmates probably shared their plight with them. And then there is the correctional system it's self with all of it's tentacles. I think people do know that prisoners work a few jobs for peanuts. But more importantly, I think they consider it, if nothing else, a way for the convicts to at least attempt to pay their debt to society.

#27 | Posted by bogey1355 at 2016-09-22 09:02 PM | Reply

Prions have become ways to shake criminals upside down by the ankles until every last penny comes out of their pockets.

It's not even close to being about justice any more. It's about perpetuating a steady supply of prisoners.

#28 | Posted by snoofy at 2016-09-22 09:05 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

#21 - or their paying to keep their virginity.

But you know...

#29 | Posted by Prolix247 at 2016-09-22 10:31 PM | Reply

Because it's in the article.

The article is biased, what do you expect?

#30 | Posted by boaz at 2016-09-23 10:29 AM | Reply

#28 | Posted by snoofy, The prime thing I hate about the criminal justice system is the shear injustice. Steal a 5000 dollar car, go to prison for three or four years. Steal half a billion, you become a mover and shaker and run for president. How many bankers from Wall St. went to prison for fraud? Did any one of the political appointees at Fanny Mae go to prison for fraud after issuing fraudulent reports FOR YEARS and award themselves huge bonuses get charged with anything? You already know the answer. The sad fact is the vast majority of the inmates deserve to be in prison, I just think that they deserve some company. Some limousine liberal company.

#31 | Posted by docnjo at 2016-09-23 11:05 AM | Reply

You should be very careful with "forced" anything.

#32 | Posted by fresno500 at 2016-09-23 11:10 AM | Reply

I have no problem with the idea of country work farms, etc. where prisoners are working for the community to lower the cost of incarceration, to help them learn work skills and discipline, etc. I do however have a problem with private corporations using prison labor to replace non-prison labor to cut their costs.

#33 | Posted by danni at 2016-09-23 11:14 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

There are prisons who run their own farms, raise their own beef and dairy cattle. All manned by prisoners. I personally know a prisoner whose job it was to feed and care for the mounted patrol horses.

#25 | POSTED BY TWINPAC

I have no problem with prisoners working to grow food for the prison, or with prisoners working to maintain certain public infrastructure to save the tax payers money. But Danni is exactly right..

I do however have a problem with private corporations using prison labor to replace non-prison labor to cut their costs.

#33 | POSTED BY DANNI

Prisoners should never be used as free/cheap labor to give private business a significant advantage over their competition. Most jobs that can be done competitively in the open market should not be performed by incarcerated labor, unless said labor is being compensated equitably.

#34 | Posted by Whatsleft at 2016-09-23 11:42 AM | Reply

Come on down to Texas, the largest prison system in the USA. Grow their own food plus food for school lunches and state hospitals. Make their own soap and detergents. Make furniture for all state offices. Run data centers and phone banks for the state. Remodel buildings for state hospitals, and build facilities in the prisons. Run so efficiently that other states send their convicts to us. Also do maintenance and rebuild for state equipment, and best of all the recidivism rate is below average. About 70% are there for violent offenses. You never see a convict in a state prison say "We run this place". There are no Club Fed facilities in this prison system. Misbehave inside, and there is no way to earn cred, you just go into seg, and no one sees you for quite a while. Can't adapt, We have larger individual cells with showers. Where you will stay. Sometimes for years. The isolation there is sever. There is rehabilitation in a Texas prison, but have no doubt, there is also punishment.

#35 | Posted by docnjo at 2016-09-23 01:32 PM | Reply

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