Case Study – Hiring Inmates

In: Business and Management

Submitted By miked
Words 557
Pages 3
Free or cheap labor, what business wouldn’t want that? Labor costs are generally a business’ largest expenditure and eat into profit margins. But how do you get cheap labor when the labor force needs to earn enough to survive and raise a family? Slavery is option, but one that is illegal and was abolished 150 years ago. Indentured servitude? No, can’t use that, also illegal. You can try to pay below market wages, but doing that will probably result in less than stellar employees and the eventual end of your business. Here is an option, what if this labor was provided by prison inmates who had no choice but to work for mere pennies compared to the regular work force? Sounds like good idea right? Cheap labor for you and prison inmates get a chance to earn a buck, learn a skill, and contribute to society. However, using inmate labor presents several ethical dilemmas. Do we have the right force inmates to work if they don’t want too? Is it fair to only pay them a few dollars a day when the same work would earn a free man $10 an hour? Is it a fair business practice when one company can use inmate labor when another company conducting the same business cannot? What is the effect on the regular work force and the economy in general? These are all questions that must asked and answered. According to a Huffington Post article, prison labor is back with a vengeance. It can be found across broad stretches of the American economy and around the world. Fortune 500 corporations like Chevron, Bank of America, AT&T, and IBM lease factories in prisons or prisoners to work on the outside. All told, nearly a million prisoners are now making office furniture, working in call centers, fabricating body armor, taking hotel reservations, working in slaughterhouses, or manufacturing textiles, shoes, and clothing, while getting paid somewhere between 93 cents and $4.73 per day.…...

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