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Sunday, July 03, 2011

Prison Labour: Salvation or Slavery?

Prison Labour: Salvation or Slavery?

"In 1919, the Labour Party established a Prison System Enquiry Committee...It's report (Hobhouse and Fenner Brockway, 1922) painted a less rosy picture of prison labour than the Commissioners might have liked.

Hobhouse and Fenner Brockway concluded that prison labour had a low priority within prisons...

Finally, it is worth noting that Hobhouse and Fenner Brockway argued strongly for a system of payment for prison work, a view that led them to consider whether prison labour did or should compete with free labour. On this point they concluded that: 'all useful work done in prison is necessarily competitive with free labour. The right course is to demand that it should be done under Trade Union conditions'" (Source Prison Labour: Salvation or Slavery, Edited by Dirk van Zyl Smit and Frieder Dunkel, Ashgate, 1999, pp 45-46).

In Germany, on 1 July 1998, the Federal Constitutional Court decided that under the Prison Act 1976 prison labour must be paid at least the NMW.

Any plan by the Coalition to exploit UK prison labour will run into difficulites under European law.

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