Via Crooks&Liars comes this story of Georgia inmates staging a “strike” and demanding ”getting paid for their work, better nutrition, better medical care and more educational opportunities.”
While I’m certainly against “cruel & unusual punishment,” taking away their cigarettes and not paying union dues for laundry labor is a far cry from having to pound rocks on the chain gang 18 hours a day. These are not the cream of society, they are people convicted of crimes against society. Prison is supposed to be punishment, not a model for a new society.
OT: The commenters on the C&L article really need to get a grip on their comparisons to “Slave Labor.” Slaves have no rights, if you recall, and could be murdered by their masters without recourse, without cause. These prisoners made a choice at one time or another that earned them the title of criminal. These prisoners committed crimes (cause) and have been through the trial process (their path to recourse, should they be innocent). If they were slaves they’d be hung or shot or worse simply for being “uppity.” Slaves never had a choice, or a chance to redeem themselves through conduct, free education, training, etc.
Taking away cigarettes isn’t cruel & unusual. Burning the name of your crime onto your forehead with lit cigarettes, like a permanent “Scarlet Letter,” now that would be more like it.