Slavery Saturday


The hand-soap dispensers in City Hall bathrooms and “Secure Therapy Desks” used to shackle prisoners during class on Rikers Island are just a few of the products made by incarcerated New Yorkers, who earn as little as 16 cents an hour in a $50 million-a-year industry.
The business is called Corcraft, described on its website as “the ‘brand name’ for the Division of Correctional Industries,” operated by the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, known as DOCCS. While Corcraft’s operations are largely hidden behind prison walls, a 2014 DOCCS report says Corcraft “employs approximately 2,100 inmates and 288 civilians in 14 facilities across the state.”
Corcraft averages around $48 million in sales annually, according to the 2014 DOCCS report, a figure confirmed by an independent state comptroller report. Revenue from sales goes into the state general fund.
According to DOCCS’ spokesperson Patrick J. Bailey, the “average Corcraft inmate wage during FY15-16 was 65 cents an hour or about $1,092 per inmate per year.” The lowest Corcraft wage is 16 cents per hour, though some can earn bonuses equal to $1.14 per hour.
At these rates, “Prison labor is prison slave labor,” charges Alex Friedmann, managing editor of Prison Legal News and associate director of the Human Rights Defense Center, a prisoners’ rights advocacy group. “Know anyone else who would work for 65 cents an hour?”
Friedmann says that “if you don’t like the term ‘slave labor,’ then prisoners should be paid a fair wage for their work.”
Besides the desks and the soap dispensers, Corcraft manufactures a wide-range of institutional products, such as state license plates, soap, street signs, janitorial supplies, metal crowd-control barricades used by the NYPD, wooden benches used throughout the state court system, and office furniture, including the “Attica Series Desk”—an office desk named after the notorious prison, which has a sheet-metal fabrication factory behind its walls.
State law requires local governments to purchase commodities from Corcraft if it has a product that satisfies the form, function and utility required. The law, in effect, gives Corcraft monopoly-like power over the state-wide municipal institution market because the law exempts Corcraft from another state law mandating competitive bidding.


Paying your debt to Society?

About Den

Always in search of interesting things to post. Armed with knowledge and dangerous with the ladies.
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9 Responses to Slavery Saturday

  1. Den says:

    Where do you draw the line between paying a debt to society and slave prison labor? I would expect unjust sentencing for minor crimes to stock prisons with the express purpose of manufacturing using low cost labor would be a step beyond what is justice. Otherwise using prisoners for making usable products would teach a trade where otherwise prisoners sitting around would learn nothing and be no better off when released.


  2. Carol ٩(-̮̮̃-̃)۶ says:

    Slave prison labor is just one angle. There are being an employee, too. Our boss paid crap, no paid days off, if you had the flu you had to come in to work. If you didn’t show up you got points, 40 points and you would be fired. I called the place a Victorian sweat shop where we were all slaves.

    Today’s post, more proof that we are the greatest country in the world.

    Cold here today again.


  3. David B. Benson says:

    Drip, drip, drip.


  4. Den says:

    Drip, drip, drip here also.

    Where is all the real rain at?


  5. David B. Benson says:

    Just as I started to Shopko, for the 4th time this week but finally my prescription drugs were ready, the rain turned to snow. I hurried so as to not be later than closing time. Made it in 43 minutes and at 4:45. Then on to the Birch & Barley, totalling 71 minutes. Place is jammed as this is Dads’ Weekend. I talked my way into a table by promising to be done in 45 minutes. The snow is already sticking on the ground and would rather be home before it starts sticking on the sidewalks as well.


    • David B. Benson says:

      Came home via the shortest way so the daily total is 104 minutes. The snow flurry tapered to nothing about half way home.

      Day 7: 316+104=420 minutes.


  6. David B. Benson says:

    Fall back!

    When you go to bed tonight.


  7. David B. Benson says:

    So the moment I step outside to go to the grocery store it starts snowing again…


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