In 1971, President Richard Nixon officially proclaimed a war on drugs. Since then, the United States has spent well over $1 trillion on drug prevention and detainment. “If we cannot destroy the drug menace in America, then it will surely in time destroy us,” Nixon told Congress in 1971. “I am not prepared to accept this alternative.” The goal of the war on drugs is to reduce drug use. The specific aim is to destroy and inhibit the international drug trade — making drugs scarcer and costlier, and therefore making drug habits in the US unaffordable.
“Factories with Fences” and “American Made” boasts UNICOR. Better known as the Federal Prison Industries program, UNICOR makes nearly half a billion dollars in net sales annually using prison labor, paying inmates between 23¢ to $1.15 per hour. Despite already earning one-sixth of the federal minimum wage, inmates with final obligations must contribute half of their earnings to cover those expenses. UNICOR, in addition to other government-owned corporations and private prisons, makes millions upon millions of dollars using nearly free prison labor.