Prisons don't work, but prisoners do. Prisons are often critiqued as unjust, but we hear little about the daily labour of incarcerated workers -- what they do, how they do it, who they do it for and under which conditions. Unions protect workers fighting for better pay and against discrimination and occupational health and safety concerns, but prisoners are denied this protection despite being the lowest paid workers with the least choice in what they do -- the most vulnerable among the working class. Starting from the perspective that work during imprisonment is not "rehabilitative," this book examines the reasons why people should care about prison labour and how prisoners have struggled to organize for labour power in the past. Unionizing incarcerated workers is critical for both the labour movement and struggles for prison justice, this book argues, to negotiate changes to working conditions as well as the power dynamics within prisons themselves.
About the Author
Jordan House (Author) Jordan House is an assistant professor in the Department of Labour Studies at Brock University. His research focuses on prison labour and prisoner-worker organizing, new forms of worker organization and labour movement renewal. His work has appeared in several publications, including Labour / Le Travail, Labor Studies Journal, Rankandfile.ca, Canadian Dimension and Jacobin. He previously worked as a labour organizer and union researcher and is a long-time prison justice activist. Asaf Rashid (Author) Asaf Rashid went from being an aspiring scholar in environmental studies to a community agitator and campaigns coordinator of the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group. He is a lawyer, based in k'jipuktuk/Halifax and a board member of the Halifax Workers Action Centre, a member of the Canadian Prison Lawyers Association and supporter of the East Coast Prison Justice Society. Rashid has also been a union organizer and labour rights activist, among other social justice activities.