It's Real: Prison Labor for the Military
It's Real: Prison Labor for the Military
We received an interesting news tip yesterday - and one that we find quite interesting. It has to do with official plans of the US Army to enact something called the "Civilian Inmate Labor Program."
The general idea is that with troop manpower running low, and local demand for prisoner housing running high, the US Army can pick up some cheap labor from the Federal Bureau of Prisons and perhaps State prisons.
As you may recall, we reported a few weeks back that we've heard that troops are in such short supply in Iraq that ordinary seamen off Navy Trident subs are being given quickie training as sentries, rather than serving on strategic missile platforms, and off they go to Iraq.
Now, with the receipt of the Army plans to use federal prisoners for labor, we have to ask what kind of picture this paints of the military's state of readiness?
Specifics of the program, outlined in official Army Regulation 210-35 at http://www.army.mil/usapa/epubs/pdf/r210_35.pdf include some of the following:
The newest set of changes quietly went into effect 14 February 2005.
The unclassified regulations describe their purpose as follows:
"This regulation provides Army policy and guidance for establishing civilian inmate labor programs and civilian prison camps on Army installations.
Sources of civilian inmate labor are limited to on– and off–post Federal corrections facilities, State and/or local corrections facilities operating from on–post prison camps pursuant to leases under Section 2667, Title 10, United States Code (10 USC 2667), and off–post State corrections facilities participating in the demonstration project authorized under Section 1065, Public Law (PL) 103–337.
Otherwise, State and/or local inmate labor from off–post corrections facilities is currently excluded from this program."
"(2) Under no circumstances will the following types of inmates be permitted in the Civilian Inmate Labor Program: (
a) A person in whom there is a significant public interest as determined by the corrections facility superintendent in coordination with the installation commander.
(b) A person who has been a significant management problem in their current corrections facility or in another facility.
(c) A principal organized crime figure.
(d) An inmate convicted of a sex offense or whose criminal history includes such conduct.
(e) An inmate convicted of a violent crime or whose criminal history includes such conduct.
(f) An inmate convicted of the sale or intent to distribute illegal drugs who held a leadership position in any drug conspiracy, or has been involved with drugs within the last 3 years while in prison.
(g) An escape risk.
(h) An inmate who poses a threat to the general public as determined by the corrections facility superintendent in coordination with the installation commander.
(i) An inmate declared or found insane or mentally incompetent by a court, administrative proceeding, or physician, or under treatment for a mental disease or disorder.
(j) An inmate convicted of arson. (
k) A Federal inmate convicted while on active duty, presently serving a sentence for that conviction.
In short, this seems to be a low key program, perhaps driven in part by state facilities that are trying to find "creative ways" to offload minimum security inmates because of the huge number of prisoners in US prisons today. Nevertheless, some of the wording is troubling:
Chapter 3 Establishing Civilian Inmate Prison Camps on Army Installations 3–1.
Policy statement: It is not Army policy to solicit offers from correctional systems to establish civilian inmate prison camps on Army installations.
Nevertheless, the Army recognizes that these correctional systems may approach installations to lease land on which to build corrections facilities, or to lease unoccupied facilities.
The Army will evaluate requests to establish civilian inmate prison camps on Army installations on a case by case basis.
These prison camps will house minimum and low security inmates, as determined by the correctional systems. However, the Army’s primary purpose for allowing establishment of prison camps on Army installations is to use the resident nonviolent civilian inmate labor pool to work on the leased portions of the installation.
The regulations are not particularly complex, and are an interesting read if you have worries about the Army building prison camps at which a nonviolent civilian could be impressed. Has as kind of World War II-ish kind of ring to it, doesn't it?
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