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Alabama Farmers Look to Replace Migrants With Prisoners

The United States is one of the most modern countries in the world, yet we have the largest prison population which is growing rapidly every year.  One would think that our country would have the lowest population (per capita) for several reasons, which really do not need to be listed.  Sadly, the greed and corruption of our private corporations have taken over, and their main concern is passing laws which are designed to increase the prison population.  Should the passing of an illegal immigrant law back fire due to a large percentage of illegals leaving the state, which is what is happening in Alabama, then there are other ways in which to profit….

According to a posting in The Raw Story:

Alabama farmers have proposed using prisoners to work their fields to replace migrants who fled the state after it passed the country’s harshest anti-immigration law, officials said Tuesday.

The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industry officials met Tuesday [December 6, 2011] in Mobile with farmers to discuss their proposal, a spokeswoman for the department told AFP.

“The suggestion to use prisoners who are eligible for work release programs was made as a way to help farmers fill the gap and find sufficient labor,” said Amy Belcher.

A statement by the department said the meeting with the farmers was convened “to help solve the chronic labor shortages created by Alabama’s new immigration law.”

Known as HB56, the new law requires local police to verify the immigration status of anyone they have a “reasonable suspicion” of being in the country illegally.

The administration of President Barack Obama has challenged the constitutionality of the law, arguing it infringes on federal powers, and federal courts have blocked key provisions pending a definitive ruling.

But the law touched off an exodus of mainly Hispanic workers who moved to other states because of fears of being deported, prompting complaints by farm and construction industry groups of a shortage of workers in one of the poorest US states.

The state has released no official figures on how many workers have been lost since the law went into effect in September.

The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that there were about 120,000 undocumented immigrants living in the state before the law passed.

What the article failed to include was the tie of this law to the private prison industry. HB56 was passed under the guise of tackling the problem with illegal immigrants, however the underlying truth is with this law enacted, the prison population will increase. These will all be non-violent crimes, and most private prisons (such as CCA) only house lower level, non-violent criminals. Therefore, a rise in the number incarcerated equates to more profit to the investors.

According to the Alabama state farmers, now that so many immigrants have left the state, then there is little labor left. In actuality, there are plenty of unemployed people looking for work, however, farmers have typically paid the migrant workers much less than minimum wage – which they would be required to do with a US citizen. So now that their cheap labor has left, who better to bring in to the fields but the cheapest labor of them all… the prisoners. And chances are, the farmers will pay even less to the private prison corporations than what they paid to the migrant workers, and in turn the prison will pay the prisoner the standard ten cents per hour – thus profiting more money.

Our private prison industry is a blatant conflict of interest as they have lobbyists which promote the passing of laws such as HB56. No company should ever exist which makes a profit from the incarceration of man. Prisons need to go completely back into the hands of the states.

In this photo below, notice that the bunks now have three tiers.  Packing them in like sardines.


    • Slavery for profit, seriously? well your entitled to your opinion but I surely do not agree that a prisoner is a slave! I see nothing wrong with said prisoner helping the state offset the cost of housing and feeding them ect.

      And according to state law they do in deed get paid for their work, it is not much but it is something none the less. I do not recall ever reading a slave being paid.

      This is in no way slavery, slaves had no choice they were forced to work in the fields ect. These prisoners are convicted criminals and as such had a choice obey the laws of the land or not, to equate these individuals with that of a slave is I am sorry to say but it is a narrow minded thought!

      I do not wish to be insulting but I felt that statement needed to be corrected!

      • Oh, you’re not insulting. You most certainly are free to express your opinion, and I do appreciate it done in a respectful manner. But I will disagree… I volunteer my time helping with a dog rescue and training program at our women’s prison here – which is a CCA owned facility. I see what goes on inside those walls, and it is not pretty. Most of the women in there should not be there, and the private prisons do very little to nothing to rehabilitate. They throw the women back out into the same environment where they came from expecting them to return… because that means more profit. The laws are being written where petty non-violent criminals receive longer and harsher sentences than violent criminals. CCA purposely builds prisons specifically to house non-violents so they can understaff and underbudget the facility to increase their profits. The women’s prison is grossly understaffed, and administrative jobs are actually carrying on CO duties… and our unemployment is rampant here. There are plenty of people to hire… but the prison does not want to. This facility continually is fined by the state DOC for not meeting the minimum requirements, and they pay the fine. But it is cheaper for CCA to pay the fine than it is to bring the facility up to minimum standards. Also, just think about this… I’m sure you’ve broken the law at some point in time, even a simple joint. One difference between many of the women I’ve met and yourself is that they got caught… you didn’t (or haven’t as of yet.)

        Now, on the flip side… yes, I have met women which will never walk these streets again, and rightly so. I’m not saying we need to do away with prisons. We need to do away with PRIVATE prisons. A major conflict of interest because the lobbyist (who are often affiliated with CCA or GEO Group) are paid heavily to lobby to pass state bills which will increase the prison population. Why? More inmates, more profit. Society has been brainwashed that everyone who goes to prison deserves it. Sorry, not so. I’ve met many who should never have gone. But being poor, uneducated and unable to hire a fancy attorney (like our corporate criminals do), they get the short end of the stick and tossed away like an old rag because their public defender is overworked and underpaid, and just tell them “take the sentence.”

  1. So some Alabama farmer will have a crew of shotgun wileding deputies patrolling his property as a crew of workers named Snake and Bubba plow the fields?
    Only in America…

  2. My only comment was to the statement that convicts were equated to slaves, having said that you know far more about the intitmate details of those prisons than I do. I have no doubt there are innocent men and women in prison.

    I just felt that comment comparing a convict to a slave was out of line is all

      • LOL! It is true, very true. Actually, my preferred verbage is a “grotesque form of slavery” because it really is, in a sense. Especially when they start upping the prison population, then farming them out (which they profit heavily on) and in turn, take away jobs from the citizens. Ten cent per hour isn’t pay… it’s an insult.

    • Oh, and get this… Now they’re discussing making it a requirement for prisoners to have to bond out when it’s time for them to parole. How the HELL are they to save money at ten cents per hour and bond out? Many have lost touch with their families, or their families can’t afford to bond them out either. This is just another law that will keep prisoners in longer, and more profit to be made. If they can’t bond, they don’t parole. Even if they’ve met all their requirements.

  3. Thank you for the awesome article and links to outside information. I’m writing a book about the for-profit prison industry and can use all the information I can get.

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