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What are the advantages and disadvangtages to prison industries?

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Advantages of prison industry (sometimes called "the prison-industrial complex" by its critics) include the following.

Prisoners are busy and productive, working rather than brooding in solitude.

Prisoners have the opportunity to make money.

Prisons can be partly self-financing, reducing the burden on the taxpayer.

The difference between prison and the outside world is lessened by the discipline of regular work, smoothing the transition when the inmate is released.

Disadvantages of prison industry include the following.

Prisoners are used as a source of cheap labor, meaning other manufacturers cannot compete with the prices they are able to offer. This leads to the failure of businesses outside the prison system, increasing unemployment.

Although prisoners are generally paid for their labor, rates of pay are very low, whereas the opportunity costs are often high. Prison labor frequently prevents prisoners from developing their skills through education and training, which would be of far more...

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