I saw this on QI the other night and found it quite shocking. There has been a huge investment in private prisons in the US largely on the back of using the inmates as cheap labour. In private prisons inmates are paid as little as 17 cents an hour for a maximum 6 hour working day and if they refuse to work their put into solitary confinement. Incidentally in state run prisons they earn far more, $2 to minimum wage. Businesses are being actively encouraged to move production from third world countries back to the US to exploit this cheap labour. What do these prisoners produce? What do you think of this? I think its good idea for inmates to work and learn new skills but this exploitation as such low wages do not teach the value of work. It also encourages an artificially high prison population. The full article can be found here and is worth a read.