Surprise, surprise. BP is using inmates from the Louisiana prison system to clean up the oil spill. The words "Inmate Labor" are emblazoned on their backs as they toil in record heat, cleaning up the mess that BP has made. Local residents are angry that the company is using cheap labor instead of employing local residents who need jobs. Inmate laborers, aka "trustees," are paid very little, while BP and subcontractors receive tax credits. We don't know why people are surprised. We've said it before and we'll say it again: Prison is the only place in the United States where slavery is not outlawed. The inmates are being treated like modern-day slaves because they actually are modern-day slaves. In the infamous words of Nancy Reagan, "Just say no" — to prison, that is.
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—Nsenga K. Burton