By Christopher Zoukis There’s a storm brewing in the prison-industrial complex. It’s been simmering for decades, but a lawsuit was recently launched by inmates and families in Virginia against Global Tel*Link (GTL) sees it set to boil over, as inmates and their families have grown tired of paying the price for the wages of a…

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The Best Resource DirectoryBy Mike EnemigoPublished by The Cell Block (2014)P. O. Box 212, Folsom, CA 95763ISBN 978-1492798408 $17.25Available in paperback through Amazon. Reviewed by Christopher Zoukis The Best Resource Directory is a relatively new player in a small but vital marketplace: the industry that services those Americans incarcerated in our nation’s prisons and jails.…

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By Mark Wilson The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held last September that prison officials are liable for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) committed by private employer contractors. Arizona law requires state prisoners to work 40 hours per week. Most are employed in the Arizona Department of Corrections’ Work Incentive Pay Program…

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By Prison Legal News Shrinking state budgets across the country are leading to prison closures that in turn have a negative impact on communities that depend on the facilities as a source of jobs and revenue. [See: PLN, June 2013, p.1; April 2009, p.1]. Small towns in Kentucky, Georgia and New York are among those…

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By Prison Legal News

The government of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu is expanding a program that allows prison industries to compete in the open marketplace under the ironic brand name “Freedom.” Prison industry programs already exist at nine central prisons, three women’s prisons and nine district jails scattered across Tamil Nadu, located in the southern tip of the Asian nation. The facilities hold a combined total of about 11,000 prisoners.

Prison authorities are adding open-air bazaars to market fresh produce grown by prisoners to shoppers from neighboring communities. The bazaars are in addition to current prison industries that include the production of soap, leather, textiles, books and baked goods. Traditionally, those products have been sold only to other government agencies and are considered substandard.

“So far, we were manufacturing goods for the police and other departments. Such government clients are not very demanding in terms of pricing, delivery schedule and quality, although we ourselves try to maintain this,” said S.K. Dogra, Additional Director-General of Police in Tamil Nadu. “But once you operate in the open market, you have to adopt the best commercial practices. So, naturally the entire process of manufacturing will have to move up the scale in terms of efficiency and quality.”

Providing prisoners with skills they can use to obtain jobs after their release is a major objective of the program. Prison officials said they have identified individuals who are qualified to provide training to prisoners in the use of modern manufacturing technology. Additionally, a portion of the revenue generated by the sale of prison-made goods on the open market is earmarked for prisoners’ accounts.

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