Plantations to Prisons


By Phoenix Calida


Yes, the privatized prison system requires inmates for a profit. But prison profit didn’t start with privatization of prison.


Before corporate owned prisons, there were state funded prisons using chain gangs. 

There were government owned prisons full of black and brown people who were mandated to do physical labor. 


The prison system has been corrupt since the moment it became a replacement for plantations.

Minimum wage in the United States, in dollars per hour: $5.15

Average hourly rate paid at a prison camp in Nevada: $0.13

Maximum wage paid to prisoner workers in dollars per day in Georgia and Texas: $0

Most prisons that pay prisoners for work have a range of pay depending on the job.

Average of the minimum wages for prisoners paid by the states, in dollars per day for non-industry work: $0.93

Average of the maximum wages paid to prisoners by the states, in dollars per day: $4.73


Privatization of prison isn’t the problem. The criminal justice system supported by greed and slave labor is the problem.

(Source: Prison Policy Initiative)

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