America’s Captive Labor (Project-Syndicate)

Many Americans may assume that the country’s convict-labor system is a thing of the past, especially given unflattering media coverage of other countries’ reliance on prison labor to produce export goods. But in 2005 – the most recent year for which countrywide data is available – America’s convict-labor system accounted for 4.2% of total manufacturing employment.

Michael Poyker is a postdoctoral research fellow at Columbia University’s Graduate Business School.

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