all 14 comments

[–]baal 6 insightful - 1 funny6 insightful - 0 funny7 insightful - 1 funny -  (3 children)

For the record; I do not condone any form of slavery. This slave labor issue could go all the way to the supreme court... and then be upheld. This system is unfortunately built into the US constitution by the 13th amendment. It will take a constitutional convention to change this.

..in other words - it's a trap.

[–]magnora7[S] 6 insightful - 1 funny6 insightful - 0 funny7 insightful - 1 funny -  (0 children)

I agree, prison slave labor is explicitly allowed in the 13th amendment.

I think we do need a constitutional amendment. Millions of people are being exploited for pennies a day (3 million people imprisoned in the US right now), and it's also created a perverse incentive by corporations to desire as many people being imprisoned as possible so they can be used as work slaves.

[–]Tom_Bombadil 3 insightful - 3 funny3 insightful - 2 funny4 insightful - 3 funny -  (1 child)

Are you sure you don't condone slavery? Ba'al was the god of many things; including war. Isn't that where folks used to get their slaves?

Quoted from Wikipingpang:

In the Northwest Semitic languages—Ugaritic, Phoenician, Hebrew, Amorite, and Aramaic—the word baʿal signified "owner" and, by extension, "lord",[10] a "master", or "husband".

Did you have a "come to Jesus" experience..?

-Just kidding.

[–]baal 2 insightful - 2 funny2 insightful - 1 funny3 insightful - 2 funny -  (0 children)

Yes, I'm absolutely sure I don't condone slavery. That being said, anybody who uses everyday consumer products supports slavery in some way, indirectly at least.

[–]d3rr 2 insightful - 1 funny2 insightful - 0 funny3 insightful - 1 funny -  (9 children)

I'm great with forced slave labor if it's not unreasonable or being conducted to enrich a private company. It's a huge public resource, we should bring back chain gangs and have everyone out picking up trash or whatever. Why have them chilling and gambling and watching TV 24/7? Work programs lower health costs and reduce recidivism.

Prisoners demanding minimum wage is ludicrous. And yes I'm thoroughly opposed to the war on drugs, but that's a different topic.

[–]magnora7[S] 4 insightful - 1 funny4 insightful - 0 funny5 insightful - 1 funny -  (2 children)

Most importantly, prisoners should have the option to work or not work, and it shouldn't affect the length of their sentence imo or else it's coercion. It seems it's almost always used to enrich some private company.

[–]d3rr 2 insightful - 1 funny2 insightful - 0 funny3 insightful - 1 funny -  (1 child)

Yeah having prisoners make money for a private company seems very wrong. It's also important to note than most prisoners want to work, especially if it gets them outside for a day. Like pretty much everyone in CA tries to get into the fire fighting program.

[–]magnora7[S] 2 insightful - 1 funny2 insightful - 0 funny3 insightful - 1 funny -  (0 children)

Yeah that's understandable. But I also have heard everyone wants to work partially because they create weird incentives against you if you don't want to work. But I get some people genuinely want to do useful work as well.

[–]Tom_Bombadil 3 insightful - 2 funny3 insightful - 1 funny4 insightful - 2 funny -  (5 children)

WAT?! Slave labor cannot be ethically justified.

Saying that some slavery is OK is MADNESS! Are you seriously making the case for justified slavery?!

[–]d3rr 1 insightful - 1 funny1 insightful - 0 funny2 insightful - 1 funny -  (4 children)

Well I shouldn't be calling it slave labor, but yeah, forced labor as part of a criminal sentence has been the norm for centuries. If you're controlling someone's movements and tasked with ensuring institutional safety, do you assign everyone a job and a routine, or do you give up and let the inmates run the place like down in Brazil?

I imagine there's plenty of countries that don't pay their inmates anything for forced labor. But I guess it goes back to the idea that prison should discourage criminal behavior.

[–]Tom_Bombadil 3 insightful - 1 funny3 insightful - 0 funny4 insightful - 1 funny -  (3 children)

Profit is the motivation behind all forced labor.

At this point, most US prisons are owned and operated by private corporations.

These corporations and corporate investors get paid for the services that the prisoners are forced to provide.

This creates incentives for the criminal justice system (should be called unjust-criminal-system) to incarcerate people.

The prisons are fighting to maintain slave labor, cause it increases profits. Forced labor is not included in the sentencing. No judge ever says, "You are sentenced to 2 years in prison, and 5,000 licence plates of labor".

If you're going to force people to work then they deserve fair compensation.

In my opinion, we should take it one step farther. Fully eliminate the profit motive.

[–]baal 3 insightful - 1 funny3 insightful - 0 funny4 insightful - 1 funny -  (1 child)

Profit is the motivation behind all forced labor.

Exactly this. Any work that needs completed is production, which directly benefits somebody. The exception would be something like breaking a pile of rocks for the sake of breaking rocks. Which; if you believe that's what their punishment should be you have the right to believe it.

But here is the thing, perhaps we could be providing some quality education or skills training..something (I don't claim to have the answers) rather than treating people as property. The moment you decide it's ok for a person to own another person, you ultimately submit yourself to the same treatment the moment those people decide YOU are the criminal.

Just my 2 BTC

EDIT: Adding /u/d3rr to the conversation.

[–]d3rr 1 insightful - 1 funny1 insightful - 0 funny2 insightful - 1 funny -  (0 children)

I'm thinking the logical conclusion of your guys' argument is no forced labor. So instead of inmates forcibly working in the kitchen, prison systems will be forced to hire inmates or non-inmates for these positions at minimum wage. So the costs of running prisons just jumped 2000% or something. Meanwhile inmates can refuse to do anything and just chill 24/7 and get their 3 hots and a cot. Is that what we want?

Maybe a prison sentence is already a slavery sentence by design.

[–]d3rr 1 insightful - 1 funny1 insightful - 0 funny2 insightful - 1 funny -  (0 children)

Good points Tom, I agree with eliminating the profit motive. Surely as a taxpayer you don't want to pay every inmate working in a prison kitchen minimum wage though?