It is no secret that the United States has a mass incarceration issue. Activists have spoken out about the system being used to in-prison minority groups and cause mental health problems induced by solitary confinement, but now, activists are sounding the alarm on another major issue–modern day slavery. Prisons may offer their inmates jobs due to good behavior, and this may seem like a positive thing, but sadly this is not the case.
Organizations like UNICOR, have employed prisoners across the country for big-name companies like Victoria’s Secret, Starbucks, and McDonald’s for a ridiculously low cost. According to Newsweek, while some inmates made an average of 14 to 63 cents an hour for their labor work, the employers were selling the products for millions of dollars. But, the issues don’t end there. While cities like San Francisco and New York City push bills into the senate to allow free phone calls, the majority of prisoners have to pay an average of 25 cents per minute on a collect call. While a quarter may not sound like a lot, it can be a financial burden for many people who are currently sitting in jail because they cannot afford to pay bail.
On this episode of Both Sides of the Bars, host Khalil A. Cumberbatch, Associate VP of Policy at The Fortune Society, talks with Bianca Tylek, Director of the Corrections Accountability Project, about the unspoken profits from mass incarceration.