Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Whole Foods Cheese Made By Prison Labor

Whole Foods shoppers who imagine that their expensive artisanal cheese is made on a quaint rural farm by happy workers may be surprised to discover that the cheese is really made by prison inmates. According to Fortune, Colorado cheese maker Haystack Mountain gets their milk from a goat farm run by Colorado Corrections Industries (CCI), where 1,000 goats are milked by six inmates twice a day. This is becoming a commonplace practice, as “nationwide 63,032 inmates produce more than $2 billion worth of products a year,” according to Forbes.
And it’s not just license plates that are being made in prison. Today, inmates “produce apple juice, raise tilapia, milk cows and goats, grow flowers, and manage vineyards.” CCI pays only 60 cents per hour for the inmates’ labor, although some manage to earn a whopping $3-400 a month.

3 comments:

Doom said...

That's not a huge concern, so long as the state gets the bulk of the proceeds and this isn't some kind of slave labor on the taxpayer's dime for crony friends of the .gov. If they get minimum wage (assuming 40 hours a week, after some initial period of training) the state should take that remainder and put it against the costs of incarceration, and every prisoner should be required to work or not be eligible for parole/early release.

Give them skills, get them used to working... taking orders, even allow them to earn more, even gain accreditation, professional licenses, letters from their employers... if they are worth hiring once they get out. If not, let em' rot. Chaff and wheat.

genericviews said...

The only thing really wrong with this is that they are competing with private enterprise and with state sponsorship the economics just don't matter. They don't have to worry about insurance, tax accountants, organized labor trying to break in, zoning, busy-body neighbors claiming the sheep are not well treated enough. In effect, it is the same government that drives producers out of the marketplace that then steps in and satisfies the demand.

Doom said...

You mean the government which has deincentivized manufacturing so that everything is made in China? Or the government that uses unspent billions from the bailouts to help get their crony friends out of failed "green" industries, and others, on the taxpayer's dime? The government who owns the milk, sugar, and straw rope industries? Or the... Never mind. As is, is what is. At least charging minimum/prevailing wages would keep that dig from being deeper on the private sector. As is, they are probably working for literally pennies on the dollar, undercutting what private sector remains in those areas. Plus... most organic and "small farm" overcharge, grossly. I understand, to a degree, but just like the myth of mom and pops being all about us... they weren't, ever. They got rich of squeezing every last dime out of locals who had no real competition.

Lies to the left of me, fiction to the right, here I am... stuck in the middle again.