From the July 2008 Idaho Observer:

Slavin’ for the man—fog or no fog

I was waiting in my cell one morning at the US Penitentiary at Lee County, Virginia, to go to the rec yard for my morning run, when we were informed of a "fog count" and were to be locked in our cells immediately. After about an hour, the cells were unlocked and the prison PA system announced, "UNICOR work call only." Then we were locked in our cells for the rest of the morning, even though there was no fog remaining outside.

Upon being unlocked, I asked the guard, if a fog count is necessary for security reasons, why do the UNICOR workers still go to work for the government? He said he had no idea. I have an idea.

I have a Mexican friend in here who is here solely for "illegal re-entry." He works UNICOR. He tells me that he came to this country to work and make a better life for himself, and they put him in prison for doing so. Now that he’s in prison, he has to work UNICOR or he will not have money for bare essentials. Somebody please answer this question: "If it is illegal for an illegal immigrant to work in this country, why does the Bureau of Prisons not only permit that person to work in their sweatshops for pennies on the dollar for their own exploitational purposes, but strongly encourages it?"

Here’s my idea: The law can be ignored if doing so benefits Big Brother.

Maurice Foley

Jonesville, Virginia

Maurice: Prison labor wage scales, I am told, are based on educational level. People with no proof of ever having passed kindergarten get as low as 26 cents an hour and PhDs get up to about $2.30 an hour. Since undocumented illegals cannot prove to have graduated from the equivalent of kindergarten, their pennies-on-the-hour labor is preferred for obvious reasons. (DWH)