12 Corporations Profiting From The Prison Industrial Complex | Kulture Kritic
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12 Corporations Profiting From The Prison Industrial Complex

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12 Corporations Profiting From The Prison Industrial Complex

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As the United States continues to lead the world in the percentage of its population that it incarcerates, there are dozens of companies that profit from the mass incarceration epidemic.  Inmates provide companies with cheap, easy to control labor without them being required to provide workers with health insurance or sick days.  Corporations who use prison labor also do not have to worry about having to consider family or vacation time for employees.  Corporations also get away with paying inmates between 90 cents and $4 a day.

Though many people have no idea, federal prison labor, “produces 100 percent of all military helmets, war supplies and other equipment. The workers supply 98 percent of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93 percent of paints and paintbrushes; 92 percent of stove assembly; 46 percent of body armor; 36 percent of home appliances; 30 percent of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21 percent of office furniture. Airplane parts, medical supplies and much more: prisoners are even raising seeing-eye dogs for blind people.”  Here are just some of the most recognizable, mainstream corporations who profit from prison labor.

1. McDonald’s

McDonald’s uses prison labor to produce and process some of its food, including the beef for hamburger patties, bread, milk and chicken products.

2. Wendy’s

Another fast food restaurant increasing profits through prison labor is Wendy’s, who uses prisoners to process beef for their hamburgers.

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3. Wal-Mart

While Wal-Mart already gets criticized for the wages it pays employees, the corporation also exploits low-wage workers by using inmates to clean products of UPC bar codes so the items can be resold.

4. Starbucks

Despite many people seeing Starbucks as a corporation who works to respect employees, a subcontractor used by Starbucks, Signature Packaging Solutions, uses inmates in Washington state to package holiday coffee for the company.

5. Sprint

Sprint is already known to outsource many of their call centers overseas, but another way the company keeps costs low is by “insourcing” call centers to inmates who can also provide cheap labor.

6. Verizon

Sprint is not alone.  Verizon is another cell phone service provider who uses inmates to provide telecommunication services.

7. Victoria Secret

As if using female inmates from South Carolina to sew products sold by the chain was not enough, the store also reportedly uses inmates to remove “made in” tags from other countries from their products and replace them with “Made in USA” tags.

8. JC Penney and Kmart

Both of these stores sell jeans made by Tennessee inmates.

9. American Airlines and Avis

When you make a reservation with either of these companies, you could be speaking to an inmate hired by the companies to take reservations.






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  1. Tadar

    December 9, 2020 at 8:24 pm

    Prison labor for corporations (artifical people) = Legit Slavery; via 13th Amendment.

  2. Shaye

    November 4, 2021 at 7:56 am

    There are only 9 companies on the article I pulled up…who are the other 3?!

    • John Lindsay

      December 4, 2021 at 10:58 pm

      I only see 11 companies:

      1. McDonald’s, 2. Wendy’s, 3. Wal-Mart, 4. Starbucks, 5. Sprint, 6. Verizon, 7. Victoria Secret, 8. JC Penney, 9. K-mart, 10. American Airlines, and 11. Avis.

      Interestingly, once these inmates are released, more than likely they wouldn’t be able to get a job at any of these companies….and that’s WRONG.

  3. Mad

    November 12, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    Lol there are 12 listed but two on one number kmart and jc penny


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