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Question: Resolved, "That the products of prison labor should not be allowed to compete in the open market."
Brief for the Affirmative:
F. J. V. DAKIN and R. W. HALE.
Best general references: U. S. Comr. of Labor Report of 1886 on "Convict Labor," especially pp. 300-303. Princeton Review 1880, p. 225, Mass. Bureau of Statistics of Labor, Report 1879 pp. 15-57.
I. Competition is injurious under the contract system of prison labor. - (a) To the convict. - (1) Exploitation not reform sought. - (2) Work conflicts with discipline. - (8) Contractor's interest is to keep skilled workmen in prison. - (b) To the free laborer; Missouri Bureau of Labor Statistics 1881, p. 228; Ohio Bureau of Labor Statistics 1879, p. 191. (1) Undue concentration of trades, - N. Jersey Report 1882, statistics of trades of convicts committee. - (2) Competition with cheap labor, - system of letting contracts gives a contractor once established a monopoly of prison labor, - Princeton Review, 1880, pp. 239, 241. - (c) To the outside manufacturer. - Contractor gets (1) Rent, power, and privileges, - (2) Cheaper labor (see above).
II. Competition is excessively injurious under the lease system of prison labor. - (a) To the convict. - (1) Morals, all are herded together. - (2) All pretense of reform is given up. - (b) To outside competitors. - (1) Odium of system makes labor cheap. - (2) Nature of labor concentrates it on certain occupations, e.g., mining. - Tennessee troubles. - (c) To the peace of the State. - Ibid.
III. Competition is injurious under a public system of prison labor. - (a) To the outside laborer and manufacturer. - (1) Expense not an object to the State. Mass. Report as above, pp. 36-37.
IV. There should be a system of productive work on the public account. - (a) Reformatory and educational for corrigibles. - (b) Renumerative to the State for incorrigibles, - Winter on "The New York Reformatory in Elmira." - (c) Produce to be so distributed that it does not compete in open market. Mass. Report as above, p. 55. - (1) Limitation of percentage prison product in any industry to total do. - (2) Manufacture of supplies for public use, public works.
Brief for the Negative.
E. CAMPBELL and R. McM. GILLESPIE.
Best general references: U. S. Labor Comm. Report of 1886; Ohio Labor Comm. Rep. of 1879; Forum, VI, p. 414; Princeton Review, V, p. 225, Nation XL, p. 194; Westminster Review, L, p. 197; G. W. Cutler's "Lease System in the South."
I. Convicts must be employed. - (a) For their own good. - (b) To save public expense.
II. Employment in useless labor is demoralizing. - (e) It encourages carelesness. - (b) It is a wasto of material and tools.
III. Employment in useful labor must compete with somebody. - (a) What they make, can be made by others.
IV. Convicts, above all others, should be made to produce. - (a) Prisons are of the nature of reformatories. - (b) Convicts never previously having done their duty as good citizens, should now be made to do their share in the production of the country.
V. Convict labor may be regulated so as to prevent injurious competition. - (a) By engaging in new or unusual employments. - By being engaged in various ways, so as to distribute competion as much as possible.
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