Prisoners Help Build Patriot Missiles

Patriot MissileFile this in the “in case you missed it” news cycle. Why should the government not hire unemployed Americans to do this …? Noah Shachtman reported back in March on the excellent WIRED’s Danger Room:

This [past] spring, the United Arab Emirates is expected to close a deal for $7 billion dollars’ worth of American arms. Nearly half of the cash will be spent on Patriot missiles, which cost as much as $5.9 million apiece.

But what makes those eye-popping sums even more shocking is that some of the workers manufacturing parts for those Patriot missiles are prisoners, earning as little as 23 cents an hour.

The work is done by Unicor,  previously known as Federal Prison Industries. It’s a government-owned corporation, established during the Depression, that employs about 20,000 inmates in 70 prisons to make everything from clothing to office furniture to solar panels to military electronics.

One of the company’s high-tech specialties: Patriot missile parts. “UNICOR/FPI supplies numerous electronic components and services for guided missiles, including the Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missile,” Unicor’s website explains. “We assemble and distribute the Intermediate Frequency Processor (IFP) for the PAC-3s seeker. The IFP receives and filters radio-frequency signals that guide the missile toward its target.”

More on WIRED’s Danger Room

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  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    The number of prisoners being used for slave labor in Der Homeland of the Secure is way more than 20,000 inmates in 70 prisons. Most Homeland office furniture is made by Homeland prisoners.

    Homeland prisons are a multibillion dollar business both as revenue from governments and revenue from slave labor.

    No wonder Der Homeland of the Greedily Secure imprisons over 2 million people, more of its citizens than any country in the world.

  • BuzzCoastin

    The number of prisoners being used for slave labor in Der Homeland of the Secure is way more than 20,000 inmates in 70 prisons. Most Homeland office furniture is made by Homeland prisoners.

    Homeland prisons are a multibillion dollar business both as revenue from governments and revenue from slave labor.

    No wonder Der Homeland of the Greedily Secure imprisons over 2 million people, more of its citizens than any country in the world.

    • Zubberman

      i agree 100%

  • Haystack

    And knowing how patriotic and well-integrated into society prisoners are, we can trust that they’ll assemble our missile systems conform to the highest possible quality standards. 

  • Haystack

    And knowing how patriotic and well-integrated into society prisoners are, we can trust that they’ll assemble our missile systems conform to the highest possible quality standards. 

  • Vstarman21

    Disgusting, I’m so ashamed.

  • Vstarman21

    Disgusting, I’m so ashamed.

  • Wanooski

    America: Rome Lite.

  • Anarchy Pony

    America: Rome Lite.

  • MoralDrift

    They also assemble the body armor and helmets that protect America’s sons and daughters. Many of those helmets were recalled a couple years ago.

    The fact that the materials for war are manufactured in prisons is evidence enough to reveal that we do not live in a free society.

  • Anonymous

    They also assemble the body armor and helmets that protect America’s sons and daughters. Many of those helmets were recalled a couple years ago.

    The fact that the materials for war are manufactured in prisons is evidence enough to reveal that we do not live in a free society.

  • Okarin

    will the prisoners forget their labour skills when they are released from prison?

  • Okarin

    will the prisoners forget their labour skills when they are released from prison?

  • Zubberman

    i agree 100%

  • Zubberman

    would be nice to see the inmates make products that can be sold at a cheaper price for the people that need it, instead of making missiles that will surely end up one day killing a lot of people. 

  • Zubberman

    would be nice to see the inmates make products that can be sold at a cheaper price for the people that need it, instead of making missiles that will surely end up one day killing a lot of people.