PEPE ESCOBAR—The US federal report on prison labor actually states, unambiguously, that “all able-bodied sentenced prisoners” are required to work. The operative word is “required”.
UNICOR, which operates no less than 110 factories in 65 federal prisons, is blandly described as the trade name for the Federal Prison Industries (FPI) in the US, a “self-sustaining government corporation that sells market-priced services and quality goods made by inmates”. Including, of course, weapons for the industrial-military complex.
According to 2019 figures, the US government – which de facto operates the prison factories – funded ASPI with $1.37 million.
Unisystems, an IT firm that sells interphones for US prisons, also funded ASPI from 2005 to 2019. Inmate labor may be dirty cheap, but if they want to place a call to their lawyers or their family they need to shell out up to $24 for 15 minutes.