US textile manufacturers call for boycott on prison-sourced apparel
The American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) has called on US presidential candidates to act against government purchase of uniforms manufactured in American prisons. The market involves 12,000 inmates and generates a revenue of $500 million.
The Federal Prison Industries corporation, also known as Unicor, provides US jails with the tools needed for large-scale manufacturing. It is a significant windfall in a nation which claims one of the world's highest ratios of inmates per inhabitant. The AAFA's statement chimes with the government's policy, expressed a few weeks ago, of reducing the number of inmates in private penal institutions. The long-term suppression of such establishments is also on the cards.
"The U.S. government rightly prohibits the importation of goods manufactured by prison laborers, but then turns around and buys hundreds of millions of dollars from local U.S. prison factories", AAFA has pointed out. "We need to put America's workers first and stop the federal reliance on prison labor. We all want more Made in USA opportunities — but we cannot create more Made in USA jobs when those opportunities are eliminated by competition from U.S. prison factories."
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