Slave Labour in Detention Centres

September 25, 2008

Just when I thought I couldn’t get any angrier…

Apparently detainees in Campsfield Immigration detention centre in Oxforshire are being paid £5 for 6 hour shifts of cleaning or kitchen work.  That’s right, no £5/hour (which is still below minimum wage) but £5 FOR THE ENTIRE SHIFT!

GEO, the company that runs the prison (nothing like profiting from the misery of others) says that it doesn’t force the inmates to work, so it’s all OK.  And, as you’d expect, the Home Office pretty  much doesn’t care.  It’s not like asylum seekers are human or anything.  Not like proper British people.

At the moment, GEO’s website is down, so I can’t tell you their contact info.  Keep checking back, I’ll have it up as soon as I can.  Meanwhile, you can write to Lin Homer, Chief of the UK Border Agency at 12th floor, Apollo House, 36 Wellesley Road, Croydon, CR9 3RR; and to Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary. 

Also, I highly recommend reading Angela Davis’ Are Prisons Obsolete, in which she talks about the rise of the prison-industrial complex in the US, and how prisons have basically become Slavery: the Millenium edition.  It’s not all completely applicable to the situation in the UK (eg after slavery was abolished in the American South, they basically made being black illegal, so that they could still have slaves, only in prison), but the basic theory is extremely relevant.

On a personal note:  How on earth do people (by which I mean Jacqui Smith and Lin Homer, and the executive board of GEO) justify this kind of behaviour to themselves?  I’m genuinely curious, this not only self-righteous indignation.

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