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Article
Freeing Prisoners' Labor
Cornell Law Faculty Publications
  • Stephen P. Garvey, Cornell Law School
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
1-1-1998
Keywords
  • Prison labor,
  • Prison reform,
  • Penitentiaries,
  • Moral reform through labor,
  • Convict labor,
  • Prison Industry Enhancement Act,
  • PIE
Abstract
Although labor was central to the internal life of the early penitentiary, it has virtually vanished from today's prison. In this article, Professor Garvey proposes making labor once again a key part of the prison regime. During the decades surrounding the turn of the century, organized labor and business successfully lobbied for protectionist state and federal legislation that prohibited private firms from contracting for prison labor and selling prison-made goods on the open market. This legislation abolished the old "contract" system of prison labor and replaced it with the "state-use" system. Under the state-use system, inmates work only for the state, which also serves as the exclusive market for prison-made goods. This system continues to structure prison labor and results in widespread inmate idleness. Professor Garvey argues for a return to the contract system of prison labor, which would allow private firms to contract for inmate labor at whatever price the market will bear and to sell prison-made goods on the open market.
Publication Citation
Published in: Stanford Law Review, vol. 50, no. 2 (January 1998).
Citation Information
Stephen P. Garvey. "Freeing Prisoners' Labor" (1998)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/stephen_garvey/4/