Is It the Right Time to Be Using Prison Labor to Manufacture Military Uniforms?
The federal government is having some military uniforms made by inmates in federal prison, resulting in lay-offs at companies that currently hold the contracts.
With a contract for U.S. military uniforms expiring in October, the federal government is pulling some of its contracted work and shifting it to UNICOR, the Federal Prison Industries program.
According to a story by Fox News, it will cost about 15 percent more, $34.18 compared to $29.44 per uniform, but proponents of the program tout other benefits. Some of those benefits are that the FPI program helps provide training, education and employment for inmates in federal custody. Inmates working for the program are reportedly 24 percent less likely to re-offend and 14 percent more likely to be employed long-term after they have been released. Supplies also are purchased from small businesses, helping fuel the economy.
But opponents say at a time when unemployment is so high, it will hurt the regular business community. A Southeast company, American Apparel in Alabama, has already laid off employees after losing a contract to FPI and a second, American Power Source, also in Alabama, is likely to do so when the contract is pulled in October.
Do you think this is the right time to switch the contract or would it be better to wait for the unemployment rate to improve? Tell us in comments.