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Prison is primarily a mechanism for the regulation of labour - Essay Example

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Prison is primarily a mechanism for the regulation of labour
In many rehabilitation systems, labour is one of its more common and dominant themes. Prisoners are often made to carry out physical labour and other types of work for the maintenance of the prisons or for income-generating purposes. …
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Prison is primarily a mechanism for the regulation of labour
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Download file to see previous pages Considerations for the profitability of prison labour have been seen from various corporations and businesses and they have since considered the prisoners as labourers. Critics to this practice however point out that prison seems to have become a mechanism for controlling and regulating labour, and that in the process, the system has circumvented fair labour practices, including unionization and minimum wage requirements. Corporations however are quick to point out that prison labour is part of the rehabilitation process and is within the fair mandates of the law. Based on these opposing sides to the issue, this paper shall discuss the thesis that: Prison is primarily a mechanism for the regulation of labour. A clear and comprehensive analysis shall be considered in order to arrive at a valid and reliable understanding of the issue.
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Prison labour has been the subject of various international legal arguments. These arguments all relate to the application and validity of its practice. Prison labour is basically understood as labour “undertaken by convicts housed within the confines of a prison, both private and public that produces either a good or a service” (American University, 2001). The US is going through a period of liberalization and with the creation of private prisons, laws have begun to change in relation to inmate labour. The US Prisons Industries Enhancement Program (PIE) has assisted prisons to coordinate with private industries in order to market prison products on a wider scale (American University, 2001)....
In the UK, prison labour is also not an unfamiliar practice. Prisoners in the UK are now known to be working for many of UK’s well-known brands for as little as 4 pounds a week (Cookson and Chamberlain, 2009). Companies like Virgin Atlantic, Monarch Airlines, and Travis Perkins are just some of these companies who are benefiting from prison labour and the NHS and the Ministry of Defence has also been known to utilize these goods produced by prisoners (Cookson and Chamberlain, 2009). More than 100 companies are utilizing prison labour in England and Wales, producing holiday brochures, name tags, and balloons for industrial mouldings. And most people are actually unaware that their products are being made by inmates (Cookson and Chamberlain, 2009). In about a year, an estimated 30 million pounds between companies and prisons are being signed. Critics are quick to label these contracts to be exploitative because they provide prisoners with mundane and repetitive work; and their actual rehabilitation process is actually not given much attention (Cookson and Chamberlain, 2009). There are about 80,000 inmates in the US who are involved in commercial activities, and some of them are making about 21 cents per hour for their labours (Whyte and Baker, 2000). The US government presently employs around 21,000 inmates making various products, including file cabinets, electronic equipment, and military helmets which are then sold to federal agencies and private companies (Whyte and Baker, 2000). Sales from prison labour products now register at $600 million with about 37 million dollars in profits. Prison labourers are also now in the manufacturing industry, participating in making blue jeans, auto parts, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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