Whole Foods Uproar Sheds Light On promise, Peril Of Prison Labor

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Whole foods protest sign
A protest image used by Mass Incarceration Houston. Whole Foods says it will no longer sell food products made by Colorado inmates.

Nearly 2,000 prisoners in Colorado are employed. Colorado Correctional Industries (CCI), a division of the Department of Corrections, puts inmates to work in fields ranging from fish farming to dog training to firefighting. CCI says it offers inmates the opportunity to build skills that translate to jobs upon release. But others claim their low wages amount to exploitation. Last month Whole Foods announced it would no longer sell products, such as fish and goat cheese, that use prison labor.

Colorado Matters' Andrea Dukakis explores different perspectives on prison industries with Nancy La Vigne, director of the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center in Washington DC, and Michael Allen, the founder of End Mass Incarceration Houston.