From Our Prisons to Your Dinner Table

At America’s strangest workplace, laborers are making toys for kids, picking grapes for wineries, and farming tilapia for Whole Foods—all for $1.50 an hour.

The most familiar prison work programs involve stamping license plates or breaking rocks as part of a chain gang. As head of Colorado Correctional Industries, or CCI, Smith was responsible for thinking bigger and more creatively. And during a morning drive around the campus of his prison, it was clear he has succeeded wildly by building one of the strangest labor colonies in the modern world. None of its workers can leave without being chased down by men with shotguns. They toil in dozens of industries, ranging from fiberglass construction to floristry to the husbandry of Hungarian partridges, and a large portion of their products are niche, even artisanal.

By keeping the products unlabeled and unnoticed, prison labor systems all over the country have skirted uproar over whether prison labor is fair and just.  Read the full article | PACIFIC STANDARD


THE FLOCK: Prisoners who work for Colorado Correctional Industries will train your dog, break your horse, and raise goats for your milk and cheese | Photo: Barry Staver



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