And while consumers pay top dollar for the prisoners’ expensive wares — and companies like Colorado Corrections Industries rake in millions — the prisoners themselves often make as little as 60 cents per day. David Fathi, director of the ACLU’s National Prison Project, says that prison labor operates in a “legal black hole” where basic legal protections such as minimum wage are conspicuously unavailable.
That hopeless black hole has swallowed nearly 2.5 million individual Americans, destroying lives and dreams, tearing families asunder and leaving them in financial ruin. As is now a well-known and shameful fact, the United States incarcerates a higher percentage of its populace than any other government on earth. No country sanctioning such a practice can maintain that it is “free” in any but the most ironic, mocking sense.
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