Prison factories caught in heated hiring debate
TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) – On the outside, Unicor, with its big oaks and magnolia trees, looks like it could be part of a landscaped industrial park. Step a little closer and it’s clear the apparel shop lies in the middle of a medium-security federal prison in east Alabama.
The factory and those like it that employ convicted felons are at the heart of a simmering debate about whether prisons should be siphoning away jobs – at much lower wages – that could be filled by those who need them during the nation’s toughest period of unemployment in decades.
Congressional Republicans, a handful of Democrats and private-industry critics want to clamp down on Unicor, the trade name for Federal Prison Industries.
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