The Prison Industrial Complex

20% of all inmates are incarcerated in the US, yet only account for 4.23% of the world population.
Many corporations benefit from mass incarceration and get labor for pennies on the dollar.

The Corporations Below Use Prison Labor To Their Financial Benefit:

  • Whole Foods – This market (now owned by purchases specialty cheeses and fishes from companies that employ inmates.
  • McDonald’s – Prisoners sew their employee uniforms, and they are only paid few cents an hour from their labor.
  • Target – Since the early 2000’s, Target has relied on multiple suppliers that are known to use prison labor.
  • IBM – It has been said that inmates from Lockhart Prison near Austin Texas manufacture this tech giant’s circuit boards.
  • Texas Instruments – Talk about a calculation gone bad. Just like IBM, they have their circuit boards made by prisoners. They have a factory assembly room specially made for inmate laborers.
  • Boeing – A subcontractor of Boeing, the aerospace company, was found to have used inmates to cutting airplane components. The prisoners were paid less than 1/4th of the usual wage for this type of work.
  • Nordstrom – The retail giant was once under attack for selling jeans made by inmates. They have since stated that their brand does not engage in prison labor anymore. It’s tough to know what’s truth or talk.
  • Intel – Some of their computer parts were made in a prison manufacturing facility. Like many other tech giants.
  • Walmart – Walmart pledged to not sell products made by prisoners, but some of their retail subcontractors were found to be using prison labor.
  • Victoria’s Secret – The overpriced American underwear designer was paying inmates barely anything to make their expensive lingerie.
  • AT&T – Instead of outsourcing their call centers to other English-speaking countries, AT&T hired prisoners instead. The problem is, they received 7.5 times less than other employees in this position. They only receive $2 an hour for a job that usually pays $15.
  • British Petroleum (BP) – In 2010, BP was having trouble hiring locals at $10 an hour for 12-hour days to cleanup their massive oil spill in the Gulf. They ended up hiring Louisiana inmates to clean up an oil spill. They received no payment from it and were exposed to carcinogenic chemicals in the process. BP then received lucrative tax write-offs.
  • Starbucks – Their overpriced (possibly moldy) coffee is packaged by inmates for as little as 23 cents an hour. Make your own damn coffee.
  • Microsoft – In the 1990s, Microsoft decided to hire prisoners to pack their software and mouse. A spokesperson at Microsoft at that time even claimed that the company sees nothing wrong about it. No “philanthropist” exploits prisoners for profit.
  • Honda Motor Company – Honda is a Japanese motor company that creates everything from cars to lawnmowers, motorcycles to planes. Even Boats. They hire inmates from Ohio Mansfield Correctional Institution to make some of their parts. Not surprisingly, the company paid them next to nothing.
  • Macy’s – The massive retail giant like Walmart and Target, also uses prison labor to save on its operating costs.
  • Sprint – Just like their competitor, AT&T, Sprint also decided to staff its call centers with underpaid inmates. Sprint was acquired by T-mobile, which we’re unsure of whether or not prison labor is used.
  • Nintendo – Nintendo hired a subcontractor who, in turn, hires prisoners at despicable rates to pack game boys.
  • JC Penney – Ever since the 90s, JC Penney has used prison labor for its clothing line. Female inmates were used to sew clothes sold in their stores. JC Penny announced that by the Fall of 2020 they will be going out of business and closing all of their stores.
  • Wendy’s – To cut costs, Wendy’s capitalizes on prison labor to process beef for their hamburgers.

    This is just a sample of corporations that use prison labor to profit. Every single one of these are multi-billion dollar corporations, supported by every day people.

    There have been also been inmates who became whistleblowers that were placed in solitary confinement when they exposed that they had been told to remove “Made in Honduras” labels and replace them with “Made in America” labels.