skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.

 

NCJ Number: 76524 Find in a Library
Title: At Hard Labor - Penal Confinement and Production in Nineteenth-century America (From Crime and Capitalism, P 341-357, 1981, David F Greenberg, ed. - See NCJ-76520)
Author(s): R P Petchesky
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: Mayfield Publishing Co
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Sale Source: Mayfield Publishing Co
285 Hamilton Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94301
United States of America
Type: Historical Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The use of contract labor by American industry during the latter half of the 19th century is described, and reasons why the contract system was discontinued are considered.
Abstract: Contract labor by incarcerated offenders was rationalized as a method for recovering prison costs and as a rehabilitation technique; however, the actual purposes of using convicts for industrial labor were the development of work force discipline among inmates (whose idleness was considered a form of deviance) and the generation of profits. The practice was discontinued for several reasons. First, contractor corruption made the use of contracted labor unprofitable for the state. Second, contractor influence over individual institution operations conflicted with state efforts to centralize authority in the penal system. Third, prison officials were unable to organize their work forces along industrial lines sufficiently to meet unable to take control of prison administration to the degree necessary to introduce sufficient efficiency. Finally, business leaders supported the termination of contract operations as a way to mollify free labor during a time of increasing militancy. Free laborers traditionally perceived prison labor as a threat; however, this group was ineffective in eliminating the contract system. Working class leaders would have been more successful had they attempted to organize prisoners into unions to pressure for improvements in prison pay and working conditions. Notes are included.
Index Term(s): Correctional industries; Inmate Programs; Labor relations
Note: *This document is currently unavailable from NCJRS.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=76524

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.