*all dorms on West Campus, and all the new dorms in the North Campus Expansion.
The University of Washington buys this furniture from a “company” called Correctional Industries. Correctional Industries is the for-profit, business arm of the Washington State Department of Corrections.
From 2002-2019, the UW has spent at least $10,958,915.97 on goods from Correctional Industries. (sources).
Incarcerated workers are coerced to work for CI.
- Many incarcerated and formerly incarcerated workers have reported that DoC administration imposes infractions on those who refuse to work for CI.
- Washington RCW 72.09.130 states that incarcerated workers lose “privileges” if they do not work. These privileges include earlier release days. Not working for CI = longer prison sentence.
- It is common for workers to work more than 40 hours/week, due to CI pressure and threat of infraction, and because it is expensive to be incarcerated.
Why is it expensive to be incarcerated?
- Incarcerated workers must pay legal fees, restitution fees, child support, and taxes.
- Extremely high-interest, predatory bail bonds** keep many workers deeply in debt.
- Basic goods are expensive in WA prisons, because CI controls the prices of commissary goods.
**UW currently has $50,000,000 invested in Endeavor Capital. Endeavor owns Aladdin Bail Bonds, the largest bail bond company in the US. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of UW’s shady investments. The UW has a combined $131,000,000 invested in BlackRock funds. BlackRock owns 11.05% of Geo Group and 14.84% of CoreCivic, the two largest private prison corporations in the US. The NW Detention Center in Tacoma is operated and owned by Geo Group.
The Correctional Industries monopoly
Incarcerated workers that work for Correctional Industries don’t just make furniture. They also make clothes, optical equipment, pre-packaged food, mattresses, WA license plates and car tabs. Incarcerated workers work in CI farms, in CI print shops, CI distribution centers, in CI laundromats, in CI kitchens. This is not a complete list of every job that incarcerated workers do for CI. You can learn more here.
CI produces goods that are sold to other state institutions (i.e. UW) and non-profits.
CI also produces and sells every single commissary good that is sold to incarcerated workers (i.e. required prison uniforms, food). These goods are sold at marked-up prices, making it impossible to survive in prison without also working 40, 50, 60, or even 70+ hours per week… for CI.
If this all sounds like one massive corrupt grift: it is.