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Slavery Is Alive and Well in The U.S.

W. Scott Cole

Posted on April 20, 2018 02:25

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Slavery is alive and well in the U.S. The slave’s owners are the Federal and State governments.

The 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution says, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Yes, most of the people in prison committed a crime and deserve their sentence as punishment, but do they deserve to be forced to work as slaves for nothing or next to nothing to help the governments and private companies to profit from their labor?

Here in Colorado, inmates are paid 60 cents a day for their work, a maximum of $13.80 a month. The state takes 20% for restitution and if the person has children, another 20% for child support. Our focus this week is not on the profits the governments and private companies make from prison labor, but is instead on the little bit the inmate is paid.

Everyone, even prison inmates, wants to feel that what he does has meaning and value to himself and other people. Almost every inmate wants to pay his restitution, and contribute to the support of any children he may have, even though he is in prison.

So, let’s look at the numbers. Twenty percent of $13.80 is $2.76. That is what is sent to the mother of his children as child support every month. How is that to be considered a meaningful contribution to the support of any child, especially in today’s world?

Another $2.76 is deducted for restitution. How is that to be considered meaningful if an inmate has several thousand dollars of restitution, with most of it intended to go to his victim or victims?

There is a solution that would create a sense of meaning and value for the inmate in his work and allow him to help provide for his children and pay restitution in a meaningful way. That is simply to end the slavery system that is today’s prisons and pay the inmates minimum wage.

This is how the numbers could change: the amount the inmate would earn for his work, instead of $13.80 a month, would be $1,898.88 per month.

Instead of 20%, the state could deduct half ($949.44) for child support. That is a meaningful contribution to his family. In far too many cases, that amount could keep the children’s mother from going on welfare.

The other half could be divided into four parts. One half of that ($474.72) could be used for restitution. That is a meaningful contribution to paying restitution to his victims.

Of the $474.72 left, half ($237.36) or more could be placed in a savings account to be given to the inmate on his release, to support himself until he finds a job. The remainder could be divided between the inmate’s prison account and a contribution toward the cost of his prison stay.

All of society benefits if we end prison slavery.

W. Scott Cole

Posted on April 20, 2018 02:25

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