Editorial: "Prisoner Problem"

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - There's been a lot of talk lately about jobs and what the government is doing to create more opportunities for hardworking American's.

Would it be surprising to know that the same government that speaks of spurring job creation operates a company-Federal Prison Industries - that regularly wins contracts by outbidding businesses due in large part because of their ability to control labor costs utilizing prisoners?

Try competing with a workforce with a maximum current wage of around $1.15 an hour.

[READ: Competing with prison labor, some businesses win, others lose]

The Tuscaloosa News reported that American Power Source, a military apparel manufacturer in Alabama and Mississippi, lost a contract to this government agency and will be forced to shutter both plants and lay off 261 people by November.

Closer to home, Selma-based American Apparel, which also makes military clothing, closed its Fort Deposit plant, putting about 175 people out of work due to – you guessed it – being outbid by our Federal Prison Industries.

The practice of our government operating a business using convicted felons that have done illegitimate things that are resulting in law abiding, tax-paying legitimate people losing their jobs must end and it must end now.

Here's how to contact Alabama's Representatives:

Congresswoman Terri Sewell

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