21st March 2005
Scottish Taxpayers Subsidising Prison Slavery
Prisoners "Worked Like Dogs" According To SPS Source
Just like the Prison Service in England and Wales, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), are not only pimping out prison slave labour to greedy private companies, they are actually, also like the Prison Service in England and Wales, subsidising their profits.
Sick of what is happening, an insider in the SPS, who have a turnover of £3 Million a year from forced prison labour, recently contacted the Campaign Against Prison Slavery (CAPS) to expose these ruthless companies. In a letter sent to the campaign, the whistle-blower says,
"The SPS price each product using a formula which has not changed for over 20 years. We work between a break-even price and a target selling price. The sales people very rarely reach the target selling price, and usually settle for break-even, which just covers the cost of materials."
The biggest costs involved are wages for prison guards and civilian instructors, and there are also of course other costs, such as heating, electricity, and transport. Obviously, the cost of the materials is only a small part of producing any product. However, according to our SPS insider, there are also instances where companies are actually PAID by the SPS. This results in a loss to the SPS of £2.00 per item, with companies such as Wickes, Britannia Garden Products, and Airsprung beds (who supply Argos) among those who benefit. As is rightly pointed out,
"This is exploitation at its very worst, with the only benefit going to the customer."
The customers in this instance are the slave-labour companies, not the people who unknowingly buy their products in the high street. The companies themselves are merely,
"sniffing around looking for cheap labour."
Besides security costs, instructor wages, and electricity, the obvious cost normally incurred by any company is the wages of its workers, the people who produce the goods they sell. Not in this case though, prisoners only earn between £5.00 and £7.50 per week for work they have no choice in doing, and they have no pension rights, no trade union rights, no proper health and safety cover, no sick pay, and no National Insurance cover, leading to big holes in their State Pension for those who reach old age beyond the prison walls (prisoner pensioners get only £3.00 per week.)
The work involved is mind-numbing and repetitive. As our SPS source goes on to say,
"This is low-skilled 'no braining' work and is of no benefit to the rehabilitation of the actual individual."
This is the same conclusion reached in an internal report on Prison Industries in England and Wales, which CAPS has previously obtained.
Our SPS whistle-blower is obviously in a good position to see exactly what is going on in Scottish prisons, and should be congratulated on coming forward to expose the scandal of prisoner slave labour, and name the companies profiting from it. As he or she says,
"I feel sorry for some of the prisoners as they are offered false hope and are worked like dogs."
Among the information obtained by CAPS is a list of companies, mainly based in England, who are, according to our source, the "worst perpetrators" in terms of exploiting forced prison labour. They include several companies who also use prison slavery in England and Wales.
The Campaign Against Prison Slavery unreservedly condemns the exploitation of prison slave labour in Scottish prisons. We call upon people to boycott these companies, and we are already in the process of establishing a campaign in Scotland, which will target them in much the same way as has been done in England and Wales. In the 21st Century it is high-time that slavery was abolished once and for all.
Companies Exploiting Prison Slave Labour In Scottish Prisons
Wickes Building Supplies
120-138 Station Rd
Britannia Garden Products
Ashton Under Lyne
Canal Road Industrial Estate
Royal Mail House
Merit Garden Products
Bury St Edmunds
Charles Bowman Avenue
Claverhouse Business Park
Unit 2-4 Eifl Quarry
Allanshaw Industrial Estate
76 Glentaar Rd