Monday, May 24, 2004

Law Review Articles on Prison Labor

Here is a list of cites for law review articles on the topic of prison labor. I am checking on which ones are available on the internet for full text viewing. I will update this post with live links as I find them. Most reviews, unfortunately but understandably, allow full text viewing (if at all without getting a hardcopy) in return for a subscription - the realities of cost management. If you have access to Lexis-Nexis, you can get the full text of each.

Death and Dying in America: The Prison Industrial Complex's Impact on Women's Health. Cynthia Chandler. Copyright (c) 2003 The Regents of the University of California on behalf of Berkeley Women's Law Journal - 2003. 18 Berkeley Women's L.J. 40

Data Privacy: The Use of Prisoners for Processing Personal Information. Sandra T.M. Chong. Copyright (c) 1998 The Regents of the University of California. U.C. Davis Law Review. Fall, 1998. 32 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 201

One Nation's Gulag is Another Nation's Factory within a Fence: Prison-labor in the People's Republic of China and the United States of America. Jonathan M. Cowen. Copyright (c) 1993 Regents of the University of California. UCLA Pacific Basin Law Journal. Fall, 1993. 12 UCLA PAC. BASIN L.J. 190

Watson V. Graves: Locked into Minimum Wage: Fair Labor and Standards Act Coverage of Prison Inmates. M.A. Cunningham. Copyright © Tulane University 1991. Tulane Law Review. June, 1991. 65 Tul. L. Rev. 1767

Making More Effective Use of Our Prisons Through Regimented Labor. Stefanie Evans. Copyright (c) 2000 Pepperdine University School of Law. Pepperdine Law Review. 2000. 27 Pepp. L. Rev. 521

Freeing Prisoners' Labor. Stephen P. Garvey. Copyright (c) 1998 The Board of Trustees of Leland Stanford Junior University. Stanford Law Review. January, 1998. 50 Stan. L. Rev. 339

The Chains may be Heavy, but they are not Cruel and Unusual: Examining the Constitutionality of the Reintroduced Chain Gang. Yale Glazer. Copyright (c) 1996 Hofstra Law Review. Hofstra Law Review. Summer, 1996. 24 Hofstra L. Rev. 1195

Prisoners as Entrepreneurs: Developing a Model for Prisoner-Run Industry. Sharon Goodman. Copyright © Trustees of Boston University 1982. Boston University Law Review. NOVEMBER, 1982. 62 B.U.L. Rev. 1163

Prison Labor. Brian Hauck. Copyright (c) 2000 President and Fellows of Harvard College. Harvard Journal on Legislation. Winter, 2000. 37 Harv. J. on Legis. 279

Survey of Developments in North Carolina Law and the Fourth Circuit, 1996: v. Prisoner's Rights: Limiting Relief for Injured Working Inmates: Richardson v. North Carolina Department of Correction and the Exclusive Remedy Provision. Justin B. Heineman. Copyright (c) 1997 North Carolina Law Review. North Carolina Law Review. September, 1997. 75 N.C.L. Rev. 2428

Rattling Chains and Smashing Rocks: Testing the Boundaries of the Eighth Amendment. Sander Jacobowitz. Copyright (c) 1997 Rutgers School of Law - Camden. Rutgers Law Journal. Winter, 1997. 28 Rutgers L. J. 519

The Search for a Workable Standard for When Fair Labor Standards Act Coverage Should Be Extended to Prisoner Workers. Matthew J. Lang. Copyright (c) 2002 The Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania. Journal of Labor & Employment Law. Fall, 2002. 5 U. Pa. J. Lab. & Emp. L. 191

Making Prisons Work. Lisa C. Phelan. Copyright (c) 1997 Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review. Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review. June, 1997. 30 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 1789

Prison Employment: A Long-Term Solution to the Overcrowding Crisis. Kerry L. Pyle. Copyright (c) Trustees of Boston University 1997. Boston University Law Review. February, 1997. 77 B.U.L. Rev. 151

The Prison Industrial Complex: A Modern Justification for African Enslavement? Chris Weaver and Will Purcell. Copyright (c) 1998 Howard Law Journal. Winter, 1998. 41 How. L.J. 349

Prisoners and the FLSA: Can the American Taxpayer Afford Ectending Prison Inmates the Federal Minimum Wage? Alexander B. Wellen. Copyright (c) 1994 Temple University of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education. Temple Law Review. Spring, 1994. 67 Temple L. Rev. 295

Friday, May 21, 2004

Web Sites on Prison Labor

Few sites are devoted to prison labor, but a number of sites address the issue along with other issues.

American Gulag, News and resources on Prisoners, Prisons, and Prison Abolition. Contains a lot of information on prison issues, but the word "anarchist" is used quite frequently, perhaps too much so.

Missouri Prisoners Labor Union. Frequently updated site covering more than just prison labor issues.

Prison Activist Resource Center - Prison Labor. Lengthy list of links to the DOC industry sites of the several states and the feds. Very useful.

Prison Legal News. Monthly newsletter. I've read a few issues. Well done and worth subscribing to, even if only to support the cause.

The Wire, Prison-Related News. Presented from the San Francisco State University servers. I suspect it is student-run - and I mean singular. Lots of links to articles and has been publishing for a couple of years.

The Other Side of the Wall. This site is no longer maintained, but anticipating that, the owners archived their nine years of work very well. Still a good resource.

Torture in Texas Prisons. Rather direct name, and (at times) equally direct content. Use the bar on the left to find prison labor information.

ACLU - Prisoner Rights. What set of links would be complete without the ACLU? On the right side is an entry for "Prison Industrial Complex." The content isn't always on-point.

Articles on Prison Labor

Most of the articles, unfortunately, are dated. But I will link them as I find them ...

UPDATE: Forgot to add this article in original post: The Prisoners of War, By Ian Urbina, AlterNet, October 27, 2003. Article on Unicor/FPI and the broader prisoner labor issue. Reads like an NPR piece - somewhat factual but just can't help taking jabs at republicans. Let's be honest here - this is a non-political site - but the legislation that effectively repealed the 1935 Act and thereby brought back prison labor was the Justice System Improvement Act of 1979 (Public Law 96-157). The Act was sponsored by Ted Kennedy, the House was controlled 276 to 157 by the democrats, the Senate 58-41-1 by the democrats, and Jimmy Carter was POTUS. What did W or the pubs have to do with that? Do you find it equally irritating when people can't keep politics to themselves?

'Made in USA' ... but By Convicts, Christian Science Monitor. January 14, 1998. Discusses Broward Optical, run out of Broward (FL) Correctional Institute, and the general prison labor situation.

Prison Labor: Workin' For The Man, by Reese Erlich, originally published in Covert Action Quarterly #54 - Fall 1995. One of the better articles, includes footnotes and informative (if dated) use of data.

Prison Labor: Profits, Slavery and the State, by "MC12," Maoist Internationalist Movement. Undated. The article has a decided bias against the process of using prisoners are laborers, and loosely uses the term "forced labor" as if the system in the United States were akin to the USSR's gulags or Communist China's laogai.

Doing time, 9 to 5, by Steven Elbow, Copyright 1995 Isthmus, Madison, WI. Plenty of examples, focused on local Wisconsin issues. Reads like a well-research op-ed piece.

Prison labor on the rise in US, by Alan Whyte and Jamie Baker, May 8, 2000. Published by the World Socialist Web Site, the article focuses on the relationship of prison labor, traditional labor unions, and legislation.

Prison Labor: Some Facts and Issues, by Karen Miller, copyright 2000. A lot of data, but presented in a narrative, and also inaccurate in two instances that caught my eye in a quick review. She cites the Hawes-Cooper Act as occurring in 1935 (it was 1929), and the Ashurst-Sumners Act as occurring in 1940 (it was 1935).

First Writing

This is a new blog for me. I practiced criminal law for over ten years, and now teach it at the college level. I have taught in the prisons and have developed and maintained friendships with inmates.

I first became interested in this topic as I taught the chronology of the prison workhouses in England, circa 1544, then into the United States in the 1800s, and culminating in its federal legislative death in 1935.

That was an interesting lesson in history and, since my undergrad was in Economics, I was not shocked at all to see the manipulation of the labor market end disastrously.

Then in 1979, with the Justice System Improvement Act, the 1935 legislation was rendered ineffective. We are now fully into the workhouse environment of centuries ago.

So I have begun my research, and it is very much in its infant stages. It is my intent, however, to make this important issue the subject of my dissertation. I intend for this web site to track my research and present it for comment to you as I progress.

I have been initially disappointed in my research, which is to relate that the level of scholarly research into the issue seems to be thin at best. Some prisons are paying 19 cents an hour to inmates, working them without breaks, subjecting them to constant verbal abuse, and in general treating them as slaves who should be thankful for the opportunity to work. How can this be without serious study? Articles appear here and there, but nothing in depth. A textbook I recently read that devoted six pages to the topic cited articles and prison yearbooks as its source. That is not a condemnation of the author, but a commentary on the resources available to him. The websites I have found have been authored by (understandably) angry prisoners or family, but generally lack any real pedagogical value.

I do not intend to take sides in this research. I wish to gather all relevant information and present it for your consideration.

If you have any articles, websites, or other information that you wish to inform me of or, as appropriate, use this blog to inform others, please e me at