WATCH: Racist Louisiana Sheriff Admits Complicity In Prison-Industrial Slave Labor

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Following in the footsteps of his proudly bigoted forefathers, Sheriff Steve Prattor of Louisiana’s Caddo Parish held a press conference this week. He is protesting a series of new criminal justice reforms in the state that will begin to scrub prisons of nonviolent offenders. He is not doing this for the reasons you might think.

In his own words:

I don’t want state prisoners. They are a necessary evil to keep the doors open. That we keep a few, or keep some out there, and that’s the ones that you can work, the ones that can pick up trash, the work release programs. But guess what? Those are the ones that they’re releasing in addition to the bad ones, and I call these bad. In addition to them, they’re releasing some good ones that we use every day to wash cars, to change the oil in our cars, to cook in the kitchen, to do all that where we save money. Well, they’re gonna let them out!

That’s right: he’s not worried about recidivism, even though Louisiana has been economically devastated by the ravages of crony capitalism; which will guarantee that many low-level offenders will return to committing low-level offenses. He certainly isn’t concerned with pursuing justice for the multitude of low-level offenders – roughly 40% of the state’s prison population – who stand to earn their freedom in the near future. Nope. Prattor’s chief concern is losing his army of no-cost laborers because the “libruls” are soft on crime, or something.

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As one of our nation’s first and largest slave markets, Louisiana has always been one of the worst offenders in the prison-industrial-labor complex, stretching the “slavery exception” in the 13th Amendment to its breaking point as often as possible. Lauded as “rehabilitation” efforts for predominantly black and brown offenders, extensive use of prison labor in the state has been a critical component of driving down wages and crippling unions. Most of the work that prisoners do would traditionally be performed by largely by public-sector union workers.

Back in June, an activist named Samuel Sinyangwe traveled to Baton Rouge to lobby for some of the very same prison reforms that are about to take effect and documented his experience in a harrowing set of tweets, a few of which you’ll find below.

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The most depressing part of all this is the fact that no amount of prison “reform” will prevent this sort of exploitation from continuing, especially as our increasingly privatized, for-profit prison system keeps upping the demand for prisoners. Nothing short of amending the 13th Amendment to remove the “slavery exception” will suffice.

Seeing as how that particular clause undergirds the entire philosophy of conservative thought around labor rights – that paying people a living wage is, ultimately, bullshit – Louisiana’s prison population can expect that to happen sometime shortly after the Earth crashes into the sun as prophesied by David Icke’s imaginary lizard people. In other words: don’t count on it, fellas.

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