Major conglomerates like Tyson, Coca-Cola and Kroger have been accused of using prison labor with dangerously close conditions to slavery.
The investigation found that abuse of prison workers has allegedly resulted in a multi-billion dollar industry due to partnership between prisons, corporations, and lawmakers. Prisoners are often compelled to work, earn little to nothing at all, and face physical and mental abuse on the job, while states and prison companies generate tens of millions of dollars in profits.
Interviews with prisoners and former prisoners further provided evidence on how they were kept under harsh conditions in a quest to gain profit for the brands that contracted their labor or the states that held them in prison. The prisoners who are majotly Black have died and lost limbs while working and were even reportedly abused by the prison staff.
Considering the fact that they are not employees under labor laws, the prisoners can not exercise the same rights as regular employees.
The reports found that prison labor is part of the supply chain of companies consisting of nearly the entire food industry with grocers such as Aldi, Costco, Kroger, Target, Walmart, and Whole Foods. Restaurant companies such as Burger King, Chipotle, Domino’s, General Mills, Pepsi, and Tyson were nearly impossible to avoid in a retail setting.
“You can’t call it anything else. It’s just slavery,” said Calvin Thomas, who was imprisoned for more than 17 years at the Angola state penitentiary in Louisian.
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