Profiting Off Prisoners: The Big Secret of Victoria Secrets

Tens of thou­sands of US inmates, vic­tims of mod­ern slavery, get paid pen­nies to work in Pris­on’s Industry Com­plexes. In Texas inmates pro­duce brooms and brushes, bed­ding and mat­tresses, toi­lets, sinks, showers, and bull­whips. That is not all! they also make officers’ duty belts, hand­cuff cases, and pris­on-cell accessor­ies. Cali­for­nia con­victs make gun con­tain­ers, creep­ers (to peek under vehicles), and human-sil­hou­ette tar­gets. And in a dent­al labor­at­ory, inmates pro­duce a com­plete pros­thes­is selec­tion, includ­ing cus­tom trays, try-ins, bite blocks, and den­tures.

In the mid-1990s, Vic­tori­a’s Secret and J. C. Pen­ney hired sub­con­tract­or Third Gen­er­a­tion, who, in turn, hired people to stitch their linger­ie and leis­ure wear — 35 South Car­o­lina inmates, and in Wash­ing­ton pris­on­ers shrink-wrapped soft­ware and up to 20,000 Microsoft mouses for sub­con­tract­or Exmark (oth­er repor­ted cli­ents: Costco and JanS­port).

boycott starbucks

“We don’t see this as a neg­at­ive,” a Microsoft spokes­man said at the time. Dell used fed­er­al pris­on­ers for PC recyc­ling in 2003,

but stopped after a watch­dog group warned that it might expose inmates to tox­ins.

Each month, Cali­for­nia inmates pro­cess more than 680,000 pounds of beef, 400,000 pounds of chick­en products,450,000 gal­lons of milk, 280,000 loaves of bread, and 2.9 mil­lion eggs (from 160,000 inmate-raised hens). Star­bucks sub­con­tract­or Sig­na­ture Pack­aging Solu­tions has hired Wash­ing­ton pris­on­ers to pack­age hol­i­day cof­fees (as well as Nin­tendo Game Boys). Con­fron­ted by a report­er in 2001, a Star­bucks rep called the setup “entirely con­sist­ent with our mis­sion state­ment.”

Profiting Off Prisoners
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Gata Malandra

Gata Malandra

Edit­or / Research­er at No Bounds
Gata is a music and arts lov­er, stud­ied anthro­po­logy, art man­age­ment and media pro­duc­tion ded­ic­at­ing most of her time to cre­at­ive pro­jects pro­duced by No Bounds.
Gata Malandra

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About Gata Malandra

Gata Malandra
Gata is a music and arts lover, studied anthropology, art management and media production dedicating most of her time to creative projects produced by No Bounds.

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