Reggie Clemons returns to discuss his struggle with understanding how his prison labor benefits his payments to society.
Working my fingers to the bone has new meaning to me. Every times if I touch anything, the numbness of my fingertip ring with pain.
Is it phantom pain? This numbness reminds me, that I work in the clothing factory, and every time I touch something. My fingers have gotten so strong from gripping different kinds of materials, especially the wet slippery plastic.
I am producing over a thousand dollar worth of these clear plastic bags, every week. I am paid .65¢ an hour for this work that requires a “Kung Fu” grip.
My question is, do you consider this a form of slavery, if I am working off my debt to society?
Is this slavery if society is not benefitting from the funds generated from my sweat equity?
Some people say it’s what people in prison deserve.
And if you can’t do the time then don’t do the crime. Well, I definitely now know what my slave ancestors felt like when they wondered if anyone cared. When they wondered if the world knew what was happening, would the world care enough to do anything about this slavery and bondage?
At work, I listen to everyone complain about their low pay in the face of inflation and how there has not been a pay increase for over fifteen years. After I watch slave inmates having these conversation, I watch other inmate go report to the boss, to let the boss know what everyone is saying.
It’s crazy how people work to keep themselves enslaved. We work from 6:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., and I love the idea of doing something productive. I hate just sitting in the cell doing nothing but looking at the walls.
Now, I understand why my slavery ancestors worked so hard for nothing but peanuts and scraps every day. No matter what the work conditions are, we all develop different relationships with different coworkers.
I sometimes compete with my coworkers for who can produce the most bags and the loser has to do twenty-five pushups and drink two big cups of water. I also love having a chance to work with my hands and learn something new.
If they show me how to do something once, I learn from the first time they show me how. I have always loved working with my hands, taking things apart, repairing things and putting things together.
What I don’t like about this, is that my work is practically free labor and it does not take any time off my prison sentence or generate anything for taxpaying citizen. In addition, I think what’s overlooked in the social dynamic of the slave master to slave relationship or day laborer and construction site manager, are the facts that people like to work, because it give us a sense of self-worth.
That’s why many people work like Hebrew slaves under these modern corporation’s shareholder investments by judges and prosecutors, who turn a profit on contracts like Keefe Distribution Inc. It was judges and prosecutors that made the laws that enslaved my ancestors and that’s who I work to generate a profit for today.