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Chang Gangs Essay, Research Paper

concatenation packs and inmate labour

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The Truth About Chain Gangs and Convict Labor Jeremy A. Greenfield English 101 Iowa Western Community College 11/16/98 Outline Thesis: From the early concatenation packs to the prison industries of today, captives have been used as labour in the United States. I. Definition A. Definition of inmate labour B. Definition of concatenation packs and prison industries II. Chain Gangs A. Early history B. Mid-history C. Decline D. Present E. Curtis Brown III. Convict Labor A. Statistics B. Reasons for C. Reasons against D. Other benefits E. Types of occupations IV. Main Points Restated A. Best statements for inmate labour B. Best statements against convict labour page 2 page 3 Prisons have been used as the manner of penalty in the United States since its beginning. Throughout the history of prisons, inmates have been used as labour. The methods of labour, the figure of labourers, and the statements for or against has invariably been altering. From the early concatenation packs to the prison industries of today, captives have been used as labour in the United States. When people think of concatenation packs, they normally think of people in white and black chevrons, being forced to work in a rough environment. This was frequently true. Employees, besides called & # 8220 ; leasees & # 8221 ; , were in charge of the inmates. They frequently treated the inmates viciously. The name & # 8220 ; concatenation pack & # 8221 ; likely comes from the fact that the inmates were chained together at the legs to cut down the opportunity of flight. ( Reynolds 181 ) Inmates were frequently controlled by whips and other rough subjects and penalties. Peoples argued that the intervention was merely because of the increased opportunity of flight in concatenation packs. ( Reynolds 182 ) Peoples besides thought that the concatenation packs would discourage offense, but surveies show that they failed to discourage. ( Brownstein 179 ) The life conditions were frequently insanitary, crowded, and ill constructed. ( Reynolds 182 ) These bad conditions of the yesteryear hold given the concatenation gang an highly bad blame. The manner people view concatenation packs has changed several times throughout their history in the United States. The earliest history of concatenation packs holds the cause for the bad positions of them. The public sees concatenation packs as a racist portion of the old South. The first concatenation packs began in England and the northern portion of the United States during the 18th century. ( Reynolds 180 ) Even though concatenation packs were legal in about every province, the South seemed to be the lone part utilizing them. Some grounds for this include the bad clime of the North and the public & # 8217 ; s ideas against concatenation packs. ( Reynolds 183 ) Another ground why we see the South as the beginning of concatenation packs is because it was the part that needed them the most. The South used concatenation packs because after the Civil War there was a labour deficit. The labour deficit and an escalation in offense caused the South to get down renting out convict labour. ( Reynolds 180 ) It did non take long for inmate leasing to distribute. After the Civil War the South had to reconstruct. That is why most of the provinces in the South had convict labour by 1875. The most common workers of the concatenation pack were county inmates who worked on the roads. A big sum of fixs was needed to repair the roads that were destroyed during the war. Many inmates were besides leased out to farms in the South to replace the slaves who were freed because of the Civil War. ( Reynolds 180 ) The South was still a agrarian part with many big plantations that needed workers. Southerners were accustomed to holding inexpensive labour so convict labour was thought as a good solution. There seemed to be no concern for public assistance of the inmates or the occupations of others. Cipher cared that concatenation packs were mortifying and degrading to inmates, which was against the 8th amendment, forestalling cruel and unusual penalty. ( Brownstein 179 ) Early on concatenation packs were used merely for economic addition. Convicts made money page 4 which helped to back up themselves and were used as inexpensive labour. Rehabilitation was non a concern back so. ( Reynolds 181 ) Some people did worry about the bad intervention of the inmates. Other people worried that convict labour took occupations from mean citizens. During the mid-twentiess workers in many occupations had decided to organize brotherhoods to protect their occupations from bad conditions. The brotherhoods that formed in the early 20th century besides opposed the labour of concatenation packs. The unions & # 8217 ; concerns and the inhumane intervention caused the ruin of the inmate rental system in the South by 1920. ( Reynolds 181 ) Private proprietors would no longer be able to rent captives. During this clip period autos and better transit was going of import. The old rental system was replaced by the normally known public plant system. The ambiance of the state during the & # 8220 ; Roaring Twenties & # 8221 ; caused concatenation packs to be used on roads really frequently. ( Reynolds 181 ) This resurgence would shortly fall to another job. During the mid-1930 & # 8217 ; s the United States went into a terrible depression. When the Great Depression occurred many provinces passed Torahs to halt inmate labour because it took occupations from the populace. ( & # 8220 ; Let the Prisoners Work & # 8221 ; 14 ) Jobs were scarce and cipher wanted a inmate to take a occupation. The per centum of inmates working dropped dramatically in merely four decennaries. An at large inmate who wrote a book about the concatenation pack helped demo everyone the ferociousness of the concatenation pack. This, along with new food-making engineering helped do another death of the concatenation pack in the 1940 & # 8217 ; s. ( Reynolds 183 ) With force per unit area from labour and concern involvements, Congress had passed Torahs which dropped inmates labour from 85 per centum in 1900 to 44 per centum in 1940. ( Ingley 28 ) Those Numberss are still unusually higher than the per centum of today. From the 1940 & # 8217 ; s to today the per centum of captives working steadily dropped. The figure of captives working has dropped from 75 per centum in 1885 to about eight per centum in 1995. ( & # 8220 ; Let the Prisoners Work & # 8221 ; 14 ) The 1890ss brought about a new type of thought over offense and how to penalize culprits. The public seems to be fed up with offense. Many Americans now believe that prisons are non rough plenty to discourage offense. ( Reynolds 183 ) Some people think that concatenation packs will discourage offense, but surveies show that they fail to discourage. With longer sentences and more parole limitations, people are remaining in prison longer, doing the population of prisons to rapidly turn. ( Brownstein 179 ) Some people may reason though that no affair how rough prisons become, they will non be able to discourage offense. The United States is now seeking to convey back concatenation packs. ( Reynolds 183 ) There are many grounds why people in the United States want inmates to work. America is tired of paying for prisons and the figure of captives is turning so much that inmates are holding to pay for their prison corsets. That is why & # 8220 ; Prisons pull out money from their inmates by bear downing for tribunal costs, enforcing medical co-payments, prehending captives assets, garnishing captives rewards, and prosecuting former captives for the cost of their incarceration. & # 8221 ; ( Paventi 26 ) Prison functionaries were surveyed and were found to believe that inmate work plans should be increased by 166 per centum and that inmates should pay at least three times more for their stay. ( Ingley 28 ) It costs a page 5 big sum of money to construct more room for the increasing figure of captives and the staff needed to watch them. Statisticss show that the prison population is turning faster than of all time. The population in prisons today is three-hundred per centum more than it was in the 1970ss. ( Selke 1 ) Another statistic shows that the rate of addition is traveling to go on to turn. & # 8220 ; By the twelvemonth 2002 the inmate population is expected to increase by another 43 percent. & # 8221 ; ( M. O. Reynolds 58 ) Just the last eight old ages has shown that the prison population is turning even when offense is traveling down. The prison population has about doubled to 1.2 million since 1990. ( & # 8220 ; Let the Prisoners Work & # 8221 ; 14 ) The consequence is an increasing per centum of taxpayers money traveling to cover the lifting population. Prisons cost America 25 billion dollars a twelvemonth which is about two hundred and 50 dollars a twelvemonth per household. ( M. O. Reynolds 58 ) To some people this proves the demand for convict labour and concatenation packs, but there are still many grounds against them. Often concatenation packs were so intolerable that inmates tried to get away. A Virginia adult male who escaped from a concatenation pack in 1956 was caught by premium huntsmans. Curtis Brown had served two of his 10 twelvemonth burglary sentence when he escaped on June 5, 1956. Brown could non defy the inhuman treatment he went through in the concatenation pack. After the flight he tried to populate a normal life. The adult male had changed his name and began raising a household with three kids. When the premium huntsmans caught him, Brown had already been caught the anterior twelvemonth but had escaped. He seemed to hold a bad wont of seeking

to get away his penalty. He was caught last twelvemonth, but fled on bond. ( Johnson 20 ) Those people that argue prisons are non rough plenty, do non see how much some people suffer. Brown is hurt from asthma and high blood force per unit area. He besides is losing a kidney after being a victim of a mugging twenty old ages ago and he is besides eyeless in one oculus. His household is worried that the 75 twelvemonth old adult male will decease in prison. ( Johnson 20 ) Corrections cost the United States 25 billion dollars a twelvemonth, which gives a demand for inmates to gain rewards and assist pay for the cost of keeping them. The job is that this may be endangering the occupations of norm citizens. ( Cohen 76 ) Even though unemployment is highly low at this clip, people worry that the prison industries will take many occupations from the uneducated and unskilled citizens. By bear downing inmates for prison-construction costs, the populace is happy their revenue enhancements are non traveling to captives. “Tax remunerators like the thought that we don’t allow captives to gain from their offenses, ” says Attorney General Frank. ( Paventi 26 ) Something that many people do non cognize is that one time prisons charge inmates for a stay one twelvemonth, that excess money is automatically deducted from the following budget. Some establishments are happening that it may be them more to bear down inmates for their stay. Some points that captives need, they have to pay for. American captives normally have to pay for their ain toilet articless, under wear, socks, coffin nails, and letter paper. They besides have to purchase more nutrient than what they are served merely to populate. ( Paventi 26 ) . Some points like the coffin nails can be highly expensive to acquire in prisons. This has created terrible jobs of corruptness in some prisons. page 6 A new manner that some provinces are seeking to salvage revenue enhancement dollars is to bear down for all tribunal costs. In Virginia if person loses a jury test, he or she must pay for the whole test. ( Paventi 26 ) A adult male named Kenneth Stewart owes $ 57,756.20 for his test. ( Paventi 27 ) He needs some dentition pulled excessively, which he must besides pay for. ( Paventi 26 ) This proves that inmates have to work. Since the inmates are non protected by most Torahs they can be paid highly low rewards. The sum of money inmates are paid is much lower than minimum-wage. At the Minnesota correctional installation, entry-level workers take place about 40 cents per hr. ( Cohen 76 ) With such low wage captives have to work long hours to be able to afford the expensive points that they need to populate. The biggest concern with inmate labour is whether or non it takes mean citizens’ occupations. Many people worry that convict labour will take occupations, but many of the undertakings captives do, will non impact American occupations. Peoples worry about a few million captives acquiring occupations while over 27 million people on public assistance are being forced to happen occupations and cipher seems to worry about them. ( Paventi 27 ) Most people do non recognize unemployment is low at this clip. Some benefits for leting captives to work include: enhanced mental wellness, reduced force, more household support, preserved matrimonies, and increased damages to the victims of offense. ( “Let the Prisoners Work” 14 ) Another good fact is that merely 6.6 per centum of inmates who worked in prisons had their parole revoked or were charged with a offense during their first twelvemonth of release. ( M. O. Reynolds 58 ) This is lower than the 10.1 per centum of rearrest of captives who did non work in prison. ( M. O. Reynolds 58 ) Alabama’s commisioner for prisons believes the prison industries has made a “life of luxury” for the inmates. She thinks a prison should be more harsh so it will discourage future offenses. The job is that captives who do non work lose any hope and are more likely to be hostile and subsequently be rearrested. ( Brownstein 179 ) Many experts agree with this position. Ron Humphrey said that “prisoners need to work so they will non travel nuts” . Minnesota had one of the lowest rates of prison force in the state when the inmates were working. ( “Let the Prisoners Work” 14 ) Possibly if we concentrate on maintaining the captives from returning, we would non hold to worry about our occupations being taken. Sometimes prison labour is non a good thought. Some issues like security jobs, high turnover, deficiency of accomplishments, hapless work wonts and remote prison locations can do prison labour more expensive. ( M. O. Reynolds 58 ) Another job includes biass. Chain packs are supposed to be good incorporate, but in Alabama it is common for a concatenation pack to be 90 percent black. ( Brownstein 179 ) The prison commissioner of Alabama thought about seting adult females in concatenation packs after male inmates filed a federal case claiming favoritism. ( “Great Moments in Penology” 207 ) She about lost her occupation because cipher else wanted adult females on concatenation packs. One manner people are seeking to halt concatenation packs is to turn out that they are unconstitutional. Some people believe that concatenation packs are mortifying and degrading page 7 to inmates, which is against the 8th amendment, forestalling cruel and unusual penalty. ( Brownstein 179 ) Many captives are illiterate and have lower Intelligence Quotients ( IQ ) , which poses a job. Some of the occupations that inmates would make necessitate a higher intelligence. Most people in prisons did non do it far in school so they do non cognize how to make much. Some captives with high IQ’s including forgers, kidnapers, and drug runners may be alright though. ( M. O. Reynolds 58 ) The occupations inmates do vary, but long hours seems to be common. Last twelvemonth in Alabama over seven 100 average security captives were forced to work 10 hours a twenty-four hours interrupting stones and picking up trash along main roads. If they are disobedient they are handcuffed to a station with their weaponries raised in the air. ( Brownstein 179 ) A captive named Ron Humphey works an eight-hour twenty-four hours as a computer-systems director and so works another four hours after dinner. ( “Let the Prisoners Work” 14 ) This is much better than sitting around making nil to him. When most captives work they feel at least some sense of worth, which raises their spirit. For a long clip captives have worked, but most of their labour was for the authorities of non-profit-making bureaus. This was done to forestall competition between inmates and the American populace. That is why captives are known for bring forthing licence home bases. Presently there are adequate people doing license home bases so other occupations are needed. Some major companies are involved in the one-hundred asset companies that have 1000s of inmate employees in 29 provinces. ( Cohen 76 ) The occupations that captives now do varies greatly. “Inmates in South Carolina make intimate apparel for Victoria’s Secret and graduation gowns for Jostens.” Prisoners besides wrap package for Microsoft and do electronic circuit boards for IBM. ( Cohen 76 ) Research has shown that the imprisonment rates vary from province to province and among the many different states. This causes people to inquire what is being done different. ( Selke 4 ) Cipher can look to calculate out what is best for our prison system. There is no clear reply to whether or non the United States should hold convict labour. There are several grounds that suggest we should hold inmates labour including: the good emotional consequence working has on inmates, the money taxpayers save because inmates can pay for their stay, and the easier ability for inmates to happen occupations after prison. There are besides many grounds to non hold convict labour like: the opportunity that convict labour will take occupations from norm citizens, convict labour may really be more, and the corruptness and bias involved. This issue will go on to be argued each twelvemonth as prisons continue to turn.

Brownstein, Rhonda. & # 8220 ; Chain Gangs are Cruel and Unusual Punishment. & # 8221 ; Correctionss Today. ( April, 1996 ) : 179. Proquest. Online. Internet. 1998 Cohen, Warren. & # 8220 ; Need Work? Go to Jail. & # 8221 ; US News and World Report. December 9, 1996: 76-77 & # 8220 ; Great Moments in Penology. & # 8221 ; Fortune. ( May 27, 1996 ) : 207. Proquest. Online. Internet. 1998 Ingley, Gwen Smith. & # 8220 ; Inmate Labor: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. & # 8221 ; Correctionss Today. ( February 1996 ) : 28-31. Proquest. Online. Internet. 1998 Johnson, John H. & # 8220 ; Man Who Escaped Virginia Chain Gang Back in Jail After 42 Years. & # 8221 ; Jet. April 13, 1998: 20 & # 8220 ; Let the Prisoners Work: Crime Doesn & # 8217 ; t Pay, But Prison Labor Can Benefit Everyone. & # 8221 ; Christianity Today. ( February 9, 1998 ) : 14. Proquest. Online. Internet. 1998 Paventi, Christian. & # 8220 ; Pay Now, Pay Later: States Impose Prison Peonage. & # 8221 ; . The Progressive. ( July 1996 ) : 26-30. Proquest. Online. Internet. 1998 Reynolds, Marylee N. & # 8220 ; Back on the Chain Gang. & # 8221 ; Correctionss Today. ( April 1996 ) : 180-184. Proquest. Online. Internet. 1998 Reynolds, Morgan O. & # 8220 ; The Economicss of Prison Industries: The Merchandises of Our Prison. & # 8221 ; Vital Speeches of the Day. ( November 1, 1996 ) : 58. Proquest. Online. Internet. 1998 Selke, William L. Prisons in Crisis. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. 1993. page 8