Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

Posts tagged prisoners

131 notes

Union Workers Replaced With Prison Labor Under Scott Walker’s Collective Bargaining Law

While Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) law dismantling collective bargaining rights has harmed teachers, nurses, and other civil servants, it’s helping a different group in Wisconsinites — inmates. Prisoners are now taking up jobs that used to be held by unionized workers in some parts of the state.

As the Madison Capital Times reports, “Besides losing their right to negotiate over the percentage of their paycheck that will go toward health care and retirement, unions also lost the ability to claim work as a ‘union-only’ job, opening the door for private workers and evidently even inmates to step in and take their place.” Inmates are not paid for their work, but may receive time off of their sentences.

The law went into effect last week, and Racine County is already using inmates to do landscaping, painting, and another basic maintenance around the county that was previously done by county workers. The union had successfully sued to stop the country from using prison labor for these jobs last year, but with Walker’s new law, they have no recourse.

Wow. They’re totally cool with giving prisoners a day pass to do union jobs to save a few bucks. Isn’t this a close cousin to indentured servitude? Aren’t there extra costs for guards or police officers to watch the inmates to be sure they don’t wander off?

This is all in the name of “cost-cutting.” Interesting to see what happens to privatized services. Will they contract inmates instead of paying a work force? This is what happens when the rights of workers are stripped. They’re replaced by a workforce that’s little more than indentured servants. 

Disgusted? I am. 

Filed under Wisconsin Scott Walker prison prisoners politics republican republicans organized labor collective collective bargaining fuckery union Union busting Racine Racine county

4 notes

Inmates Facing Chilly Night In Tent City

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is used to dealing with extreme heat in his Tent City jail.For the next few days, inmates will be facing severe cold weather instead. The overnight temperatures are expected to dip below freezing. Inmates will have extra blankets for the next few nights, Arpaio said. They will also be issued pink thermal underwear to go with their standard pink boxers.The tents used for the jail date back to the Korean War.

"The conditions here are mild compared to what happened in 1950 in ‘frozen Chosin,’" Arpaio said, referring to the Korean War battle.

Fuck you, Joe Arpaio. Seriously. This is not the Korean War and the inmates did not enlist to be in the Army. He seems to be forgetting 2 important things:

  • Some of the inmates in your jail are innocent until proven guilty
  • The Eighth Amendment - “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” These are conditions banned by the U.S. Military in regards to prisoners of war: “Exposure to excessive cold, Inadequate bedding and blanketing, Sleep deprivation due to an accumulation of circumstances, Detrimental impact from an accumulation of confinement conditions…”

So what makes Arpaio exempt from humanely treating his prisoners? I understand this is not the military, but let’s face it, these are basic human rights, like the right to not be subjected to below freezing temps in only boxers, a t-shirt, thermal underwear, and an extra blanket in tents that are older than many of the inmates themselves. This is inhumane, and it’s little wonder Arpaio is being sued by the Department of Justice for refusing to provide full access to records and facilities for a civil-rights investigation.


The suit alleges the Sheriff’s Office is in violation of federal civil-rights laws by refusing for 17 months to fully cooperate with an investigation into police practices and jail operations. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, names Sheriff Joe Arpaio, his office and Maricopa County.

Filed under Fuckery Joe Arpaio STFU civil rights cruel and unusual punishment eighth amendment inhumane inmates institutional cruelty prisoners Arizona