Cutting labor costs is part of doing business. But did you know that some of these companies used low-priced prison labor to make some of their products?
The McDonald’s corporation has often been criticized for using prison labor to make its employee uniforms and even some of it’s frozen foods.
Starbucks Coffee Packages
Starbucks also uses prison labor to make their coffee packages, especially during the busy holiday season.
Vintage Ikea Furniture
Have any vintage Ikea furniture? It may have been made behind bars. Recently, Ikea was forced to apologize for using East German political prisoners to make its furniture in the ’70s and ’80s — and paying them only 4% of the usual wage.
High Priced Whole Foods
Some of your favorite Whole Foods delicacies might have been made by prisoners’ hands. Some of the high-end cheeses, fish, produce and juices you buy from Whole Foods are actually made behind bars in prisons in western states like Colorado and California.
Remember when the ladies of Orange Is The New Black were stitching undergarments? It wasn’t completely fiction. Back in the 90’s, Victoria’s Secret had South Carolina prison inmates stitch together their intimates. And they’re not the only ones…
Several of JCPenney’s store brands are made by foreign companies that employ prison labor. But store officials say that they no longer directly purchase any of their garments from US prisons.
Enjoy rocking a fitted cap on the weekend? It may have started its life out behind bars. Prisoners at UNICOR are responsible for making many of the baseball caps that sport team logos.
Have you heard of a jean company called Prison Blues? They’re actually made at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution at their Prison Blue Jeans Factory.
Books for the Blind
If you’re blind, chances are the book you’re reading for school was made behind bars. The American Printing House for the Blind uses three dozen different prisons to make textbooks for blind students.
Not everything that comes out of prison labor is as cheap as prison wages. Prisoners in Colorado make high-end canoes that sell for around $1500 a piece.
Call Center Staff
The next time you’re connected to a call center, you might find yourself talking to a prison inmate.
Your Computer and Calculator Parts
Dell, IBM, Texas Instruments and many other tech companies use prison labor to make circuit boards for their products.
What’s scarier than a bomb? Prisoners who know how to make bombs — and for just 25 cents an hour.