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A prison farm is a large correctional facility where penal labor convicts are put to economical use in a farm (in the wide sense of a productive unit), usually for manual labor, largely in open air, such as in agriculture, logging, quarrying, and mining. The concepts of prison farm and labor camp overlap. The historical equivalent on a very large scale was called a penal colony.[1]

The agricultural goods produced by prison farms are generally used primarily to feed the prisoners themselves and other wards of the state (residents of orphanages, asylums, etc.), and secondarily, to be sold for whatever profit the state may be able to obtain.[2]

In addition to being forced to labor directly for the government on a prison farm or in a penal colony, inmates may be forced to do farm work for private enterprises by being farmed out through the practice of convict leasing to work on private agricultural lands or related industries (fishing, lumbering, etc.). The party purchasing their labor from the government generally does so at a steep discount from the cost of free labor.[1]

Depending on the prevailing doctrine on judicial punishment and penal harm, psychological and/or physical cruelty may be a conscious intent of prison farm labor, and not just an inevitable but unintended collateral effect.

Louisiana State Penitentiary is the largest prison farm covering 18,000 acres, and is bordered on three sides by the Mississippi River.[3]

Other prison industriesEdit

Convicts may also be leased for non-agricultural work, either directly to state entities, or to private industry. For example, prisoners may make license plates under contract to the state Department of Motor Vehicles, work in textile or other state run factories, or may perform data processing for outside firms. These laborers are typically considered to be a part of prison industries and not prison farms.

In the United States (partial list)Edit

State Facility Type of work
Alabama Draper Correctional Facility Farming [4]
Alabama G.K. Fountain Correctional Facility Cattle and Agricultural Operations, and Vegetable Gardens [5]
Alabama Limestone Correctional Facility Cattle and Farming [6]
Alaska Point MacKenzie Correctional Farm Hogs, Cattle, Turkeys, and Chickens, Produce Operations, and Hydroponics Program [7]
Arkansas Cummins Unit Horse and Agricultural Operations [8]
Arkansas East Arkansas Regional Unit Farming [9]
Arkansas Grimes Unit Agricultural Gardening Program [10]
Arkansas North Central Unit Garden and Forage Production [11]
Arkansas Ouachita River Unit Livestock and Forage Production, Gravel Harvesting [12]
Arkansas Pine Bluff Unit Horse operation [13]
Arkansas Tucker Unit Agricultural Operations [14]
Arkansas Wrightsville Unit Horse Operations, Agricultural Operations [15]
California California State Prison, Corcoran Dairy/Milk Processing [16]
California Central California Women's Facility Farming [17]
California Valley State Prison Farming [18]
California Wasco State Prison Farming [19]
Colorado Buena Vista Correctional Complex Fish Hatchery [20]
Colorado Four Mile Correctional Center Dairy, Wild Horse Inmate Program [21]
Colorado Rifle Correctional Center Timber [22]
Colorado Skyline Correctional Center Fish Hatchery, Farming, Vineyard, Goat and Water Buffalo Dairy, Mountain Sheep [23]
Florida Apalachee Correctional Institution, West Unit / P.R.I.D.E. Beef Cattle, Lumber, Agricultural [24]
Florida Charlotte Correctional Institution / P.R.I.D.E. Citrus [25]
Florida Union Correctional Institution / P.R.I.D.E. Beef Cattle, Lumber [26]
Georgia Arrendale State Prison Cattle and Swine, Hay Farming [27]
Georgia Dooly State Prison Farm Services [28]
Georgia Montgomery State Prison Poultry and Egg Production [29]
Georgia Rogers State Prison Dairy, Beef Cattle, Swine, Farming [30]
Georgia Washington State Prison Farming [31]
Hawaii Halawa Correctional Facility / Hawaii Correctional Industries Farming [32]
Hawaii Waiawa Correctional Facility Farming [33]
Louisiana Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola) Farming
Mississippi Mississippi State Penitentiary(Parchman) / Mississippi Prison Agricultural Enterprises Farming[34][35]
Mississippi South Mississippi Correctional Institution / Mississippi Prison Agricultural Enterprises Farming[36][35]
North Carolina Caledonia Correctional Institution (Caledonia State Prison Farm) Farming and Cannery [37][38]
North Carolina Dan River Prison Work Farm Farming [39]
North Carolina Tyrrell Prison Work Farm Farming [40]
Texas George Beto Unit (Beto Unit) Farming, Cow/Calf Operations, Poultry Laying Operations, Pork Processing, and Swine Farrowing etc.[41]
Texas Dolph Briscoe Unit Farming [42]
Texas James "Jay" H. Byrd Unit (Byrd Unit) Hay Production [43]
Texas Clemens Unit Beef Cattle, Farming, Swine Finishing [44]
Texas William P. Clements Unit (Clements Unit) Beef Processing [45]
Texas H. H. Coffield Unit (Coffield Unit) Farming, Cow/Calf Operations, Poultry Laying Operations, Pork Processing, and Swine Farrowing etc.[46]
Texas Christina Melton Crain Unit (Crain Unit) Farming, Swine Finishing[47]
Texas Price Daniel Unit Farming [48]
Texas Darrington Unit Farming, Cow/Calf Operations, Egg Operations, and Swine Finishing Operations [49]
Texas Eastham Unit Cow/Calf Operations, Egg Operations, Farming, and Swine Operations [50]
Texas O.B. Ellis Unit (Ellis Unit) Cotton Gin, Cow/Calf Operations, Farming, and Swine Operations [51]
Texas W. J. "Jim" Estelle Unit (Estelle Unit) Cotton Gin, Cow/Calf Operations, Farming, and Swine Operations [52]
Texas Jim Ferguson Unit (Ferguson Unit) Farming, Bull Management, and Swine Operations [53]
Texas Glen Ray Goodman Transfer Facility Hay Production [54]
Texas Thomas Goree Unit (Goree Unit) Horse Breeding [55]
Texas Joe F. Gurney Transfer Facility (Gurney Unit) Farming, Cow/Calf Operations, Poultry Laying Operations, Pork Processing, and Swine Farrowing etc. [56]
Texas Hilltop Unit Farming, Swine Finishing [57]
Texas William P. Hobby Unit (Hobby Unit) Farming and Peach Orchard [58]
Texas Reverend C.A. Holliday Transfer Facility (Holliday Unit) Farming, Egg Operations, Swine Operations, Horse Breeding Operations, and Veterinary Services [59]
Texas Alfred D. Hughes Unit (Hughes Unit) Farming, Swine Finishing [60]
Texas Beauford H. Jester I Unit (Jester I Unit) Swine Finishing, Mechanical Shop, and Combine Shed [61]
Texas Beauford H. Jester III Unit (Jester III Unit) Swine Finishing, Mechanical Shop, and Combine Shed [62]
Texas Clyde M. Johnston Unit Hay Production [63]
Texas O.L. Luther Unit Cow/Calf Operations, Farming, Swine Operations, and Buffalo Ranch [64]
Texas Mark W. Michael Unit (Michael Unit) Farming, Cow/Calf Operations, Poultry Laying Operations, Pork Processing, and Swine Farrowing etc. [65]
Texas Mountain View Unit Farming, Swine Finishing [66]
Texas Dr. Lane Murray Unit (Murray Unit) Farming, Swine Finishing [67]
Texas Nathaniel J. Neal Unit Beef Processing [68]
Texas Wallace Pack Unit (Pack Unit) Cow/Calf Operations, Farming, Swine Operations, and Buffalo Ranch [69]
Texas Allan B. Polunsky Unit (Polunsky unit) Tree Farm [70]
Texas Louis C. Powledge Unit (Powledge Unit) Farming, Cow/Calf Operations, Poultry Laying Operations, Pork Processing, and Swine Farrowing etc. [71]
Texas W. F. Ramsey Unit (Ramsey Unit) Farming, Cow/Calf Operations, Cotton Gin, Farm Shop, Vegetable Cannery, Grain Storage, Swine Operations, and Alfalfa Dehydrator [72]
Texas Wayne Scott Unit (Scott Unit) Cow/Calf Operations, Egg Operations, Swine Operations, Farming, Farm Shop, and Grain Storage [73]
Texas A.M. "Mac" Stringfellow Unit (Stringfellow Unit) Farming, Cow/Calf Operations, Cotton Gin, Farm Shop, Vegetable Cannery, Grain Storage, Swine Operations, and Alfalfa Dehydrator [74]
Texas Barry B. Telford Unit (Telford Unit) Cow/Calf Operations and Farming [75]
Texas C.T. Terrell Unit (Terrell Unit) Farming, Cow/Calf Operations, Cotton Gin, Farm Shop, Vegetable Cannery, Grain Storage, Swine Operations, and Alfalfa Dehydrator [76]
Texas Carol S. Vance Unit (Vance Unit) Swine Finishing, Mechanical Shop, and Combine Shed [77]
Texas Daniel Webster Wallace Unit Hay Production [78]
Texas John M. Wynne Unit (Wynne Unit) Farming, Egg Operations, Swine Operations, Horse Breeding Operations, and Veterinary Services [79]

In CanadaEdit

Province Facility Type of work
Ontario Joyceville Dairy Cows and Goats [80]
Ontario Collins Bay Institution Chickens, Bees, Pigs, and an infant formula facility [81][80]

Legal frameworkEdit

The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which ended slavery, specifically perpetuated the concept of penal servitude – i.e., free labor as a punishment for a crime.

Britain had a long history of penal servitude even prior to the passage of the Penal Servitude Act of 1853, and routinely used convict labor to settle its conquests, either through penal colonies or by selling convicts to settlers to serve as slaves for a term of years as indentured servants.

ScopeEdit

 
The Clemens Unit, a prison farm in Brazoria County, Texas

This type of penal institution has mainly been implanted in rural regions of vast countries. For example, the following passage describes the prison system of the U.S. state of North Carolina in the early twentieth century:

"The state prison is at Raleigh, although most of the convicts are distributed upon farms owned and operated by the state. The lease system does not prevail, but the farming out of convict labor is permitted by the constitution; such labor is used chiefly for the building of railways, the convicts so employed being at all times cared for and guarded by state officials. A reformatory for white youth between the ages of seven and sixteen, under the name of the Stonewall Jackson Manual Training and Industrial School, was opened at Concord in 1909, and in March 1909 the Foulk Reformatory and Manual Training School for negro youth was provided for. Charitable and penal institutions are under the supervision of a Board of Public Charities, appointed by the governor for a period of six years, the terms of the different members expiring in different years. Private institutions for the care of the insane, idiots, feeble-minded and inebriates may be established, but must be licensed and regulated by the state board and become legally a part of the system of public charities."

In 21st-century Illinois, several prisons continue to run farms to produce food for wards of the state, including the prisoners themselves. The 1911 Britannica also reported that the state of Rhode Island had a farm of 667 acres (2.70 km2) in the southern part of Cranston City housing (and presumably taking labor from):

"the state prison, the Providence county jail, the state workhouse and the house of correction, the state almshouse, the state hospital for the insane, the Sockanosset school for boys, and the Oaklawn school for girls, the last two being departments of the state reform school."[82]

There are prison farms in other countries. Canada had six prison farms, where up to 800 inmates did everything from tending pigs to milking cows until they were closed in 2010 by the Conservative government. In 2015, the Liberal government began conducting feasibility studies to determine if the program can be restarted.[83] In 2018, the Liberal government announced plans to reopen 2 of the prison farms previously closed by the end of 2019.

In fictionEdit

Films and television shows featuring prison farms and forced prison labor:

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "D.A. McCall, Secretary of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, Baptizes Convicts on a Prison Farm near Parchman on 18 August 1946". Crime and Punishment: Essential Primary Sources , 2006.
  2. ^ Lunau, Kate. "Canada to shut down all prison farms". Maclean's, April 13, 2009.
  3. ^ Glenday, Craig (2013). 2014 Guinness World Records Limited. p. 132. ISBN 978-1-908843-15-9.
  4. ^ "Draper Correctional Facility. (2013). Retrieved June 9, 2015". Doc.state.al.us. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  5. ^ "Fountain Correctional Facility. (2013). Retrieved June 9, 2015". Doc.state.al.us. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  6. ^ "Limestone Correctional Facility. (2013). Retrieved June 9, 2015". Doc.state.al.us. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
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  8. ^ Cummins Unit. (2011). Retrieved June 9,2015 Archived 2016-03-18 at the Wayback Machine
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  10. ^ Grimes Unit. (2011). Retrieved June 9,2015
  11. ^ North Central Unit. (2011). Retrieved June 9,2015
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  14. ^ Tucker Unit. (2011). Retrieved June 9,2015
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  80. ^ a b White, Patrick. "Two Ontario prison farms closed by Harper government to be reopened after pressure from nearby residents". The Globe and Mail Canada. The Globe and Mail Inc. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
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  83. ^ "'Strong support' for reopening prison farms, government consultation finds | CTV News". Ctvnews.ca. 2016-11-09. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  84. ^ Chain Gang (1950) Turner Classic Movies
  85. ^ "Iwahig Penal Farm". Philippine Bureau of Corrections:accessdate=21 Nov 2017.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit