Sunday, October 9, 2011

Prison Food

Prison Food

I first came across this story when I was writing a piece about capital punishment a few weeks back and while I was completely shocked by how shitty the system of punishment we live in has, I was more shocked by what I accidentally stumbled on.

Have you ever bought sustainable farm raised fish from Whole Foods thinking that it was a great step in being eco friendly? Well, you may have inadvertently ended up eating prison food.

Now that may confuse you a little but it's absolutely true. It appears that in an effort to keep their prices low-low-LOW! While also being able to charge you typical Whole Food prices, they sourced their farm raised fish from some places that you wouldn't expect fish to come from. Jail. Take a look at the following picture of this terrible prison....

You're probably wondering what those water ponds in the back are. Well, that's where your farm raised fish is coming from. They have reservoirs for the cattle they raise there. Although many prisons have ponds for aquaculture- that's actually where the fish sold at Whole Foods comes from as well as the goat's-milk cheese. Sure enough, they're working for slave wages to crank out your food.

The Cañon City Correctional Complex in southern Colorado is a veritable city of prisoners. More than 8,000 inmates are housed in the complex of 13 correctional facilities -- nine state and four federal -- most notably in the Supermax, a state-of-the-art federal facility known as the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.” But on a recent early spring day, Colorado Correctional Industries (CCi) Director Steve Smith isn’t concerned with inmates. He’s concerned with tilapia.

In a greenhouse in the center of the correctional complex, Smith surveys the fish splashing and thrashing about in a pool of murky green water. “This is their death row,” says Smith, seemingly oblivious to the warm water pelting his gray suit. From here, the hormone-free tilapia will be killed, gutted, cleaned, chopped, vacuum-sealed and ultimately shipped to Whole Foods stores.

This fish-farming program is staffed by inmates, and that’s not the only job performed by the Cañon City prisoners. Across some 6,000 rural acres, low-security inmates also raise cows and goats to produce milk, craft custom fishing rods, train dogs, grow flowers, tame mustangs, recycle trash from nearby counties to resell it, build chairs for state agencies, and more.

So not only do they farm fish but they do a slew of other jobs like herd goats that Whole Foods also uses for cheeses and what not. Pretty wild if you ask me. I mean, most people in Whole Foods would probably shriek in horror in finding out that their farm fresh fish has a prison record.

But then again, isn't this a productive use of both prisoners as well as space? They're going to be in there for a good long sentence and it's not like they can shiv your fish or something. In fact, if they did, then that would be fine as you need it to be cut anyway. The best thing about this in the name of capitalism is that it's dirt cheap. You don't have to pay them min. wage if they're prisoners. You just have to give them literally pennies on the dollar.

It's basic slave wages for slave work. The modern American slave shops. But the question that comes from that is if people can get mad at immigrants for stealing their jobs, why aren't they going bat shit insane over the fact that prison inmates are takin' their jobs at slave wages?

Getting back to the prisons themselves though, imagine your entire life lived out in these concrete monstrosity. You have to have some respect for anyone who holds onto their will to live while in that sort of environment. The sad part is that the one pictured above the food conversation is "one of the good ones." Much like this next one that you can see a baseball diamond in the background.

And is it just me or does the prison look like a giant skull from above? Who the hell decides to design a jail to look like a skull? What target demo are they doing that for? The investors? The prisoners? Because let me tell you, they don't scare easily and most will probably shoot to come here just so they can say they did time in this skull prison.

What's the "best" part of all these designs is that there actually exist a "million" poorly defined "ICE" detention centers, where people are held indefinitely and without charge. So in reality, the skull prison is actually in comparison, one of the good ones. The others that are far worse exist within office parks and since they're considered "temporary" holding sites, they don't have to have things like "bathrooms" or "humane conditions." I'm also sure that you can find many instances where a U.S. Citizen was held under icy-cold AC vents for days on end without bathrooms because "technically this isn't a jail".

So really, there's no such things as secret police jails. At least not in America. These places are just considered Ice holding stations. Puts things into perspective and makes the whole slave labor farming fish and milking goats for some rich person's dinner they bought at Whole Foods look a lot more appealing, doesn't it? x

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