America’s Slave Empire

In Alabama prisons, as in nearly all such state facilities across the United States, prisoners do nearly every job, including cooking, cleaning, maintenance, laundry and staffing the prison barbershop…. Only a few hundred of Alabama’s 26,200 prisoners—the system is designed to hold only 13,130 people—are paid to work; they get 17 to 71 cents an hour. The rest are slaves. Continue reading

Across the Nation, States Charge Inmates for Prison Costs

The main problem with pay-to-stay programs is that they put the burden of paying for prisons on the poor. If a rich man ends up in prison for a few months and has to pay a fee, it won’t be a problem for him, but a poor man’s life could be ruined in the same situation. We are making laws to throw people in prison and then forcing them to pay when they come out. Continue reading

Boycott, Divest and Sanction Corporations That Feed on Prisons

All attempts to reform mass incarceration through the traditional mechanisms of electoral politics, the courts and state and federal legislatures are useless. Corporations, which have turned mass incarceration into a huge revenue stream and which have unchecked political and economic power, have no intention of diminishing their profits. And in a system where money has replaced the vote, where corporate lobbyists write legislation and the laws, where chronic unemployment and underemployment, along with inadequate public transportation, sever people in marginal communities from jobs, and where the courts are a wholly owned subsidiary of the corporate state, this demands a sustained, nationwide revolt. Continue reading