Are you going to stop shopping there or….?
A shocking report from the Associated Press reveals major retailers are linked to one of the country’s largest maximum-security prisons.
The Louisiana State Penitentiary is accused of forcing their male prisoners to perform hard labor in extreme conditions to guarantee purchases from popular retailers. Some products these prisoners are pulling can be found in products such as Frosted Flakes, Ball Park hot dogs, Coca-Cola and more. From there, they land on the shelves of stores including Kroger, Target, Aldi and Whole Foods.
Investigations found some corporations buy directly from the prison, with some goods being exported, and violate their listed policies against labor. Products are also found to come from countries with blocked goods that use forced or prison labor. However, historical laws in place make these acts perfectly legal.
Holding the title as one of the country’s highest incarceration rates, 64% of the prisoners are Black – according to Reuters – close to double Louisiana’s general population.
Former inmate Willie Ingram remembers picking everything from cotton to okra during his 51 years behind bars. While serving a life sentence for a crime he says he didn’t commit, armed guards on horseback oversaw Ingram and other inmates. He says they often worked with little or no water in triple-digit heat. On days when prisoners would protest, guards would resort to violence. “They’d come, maybe four in the truck, shields over their face, billy clubs, and they’d beat you right there in the field,” he said.
“They beat you, handcuff you and beat you again.”
Some named corporations claim to be making strides against the labor they are accused of. Cargill has added that “we are now … determining the appropriate remedial action,” while McDonald’s said an investigation will be launched into the claims. Whole Foods said the company” does not allow the use of prison labor in products sold at our stores.”
Source: Black Enterprise