The Federal Prison Industries program, whose brand name is Unicor, is a prison labor program meant to rehabilitate inmates, teach them a trade and enable them to earn money while they're locked up. In short, Unicor has prisoners making goods and providing services. Unicor claims they reduce recidivism and increase post-imprisonment employment, but ultimately prison labor is a thorny issue that raises questions well beyond the scope of this blog.
What is within our purview is the range of items the prisoners make—and the services they provide. We all know that prisoners make license plates, but I didn't realize they also make prescription eyewear, apparel and office furniture. As for the services, I was mildly surprised to see they provide strongly competitive call center staffing (Unicor's talking point is that the labor wages are as inexpensive as overseas wages, but with native English speakers).
And I was absolutely stunned to see that they offer CAD services:
"These include architectural drawings, 2-Dimensional plans, and 3-Dimensional models for the manufacturing and construction industries. While Large Document Scanning and CAD Conversion are our most sought-after services, we also offer Photorealistic Product and Architectural Visualization to bring your designs to life, as well as 3-Dimensional Design/Modeling and Production Drawing."
They've got a video (unembeddable) showing examples of their CAD animations and such here.
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“prison labor is a thorny issue that raises questions well beyond the scope of this blog”
The only question raised is "is this legalized slavery?" and the answer is "yes."
I use a company from time to time in Florida that makes all the marine grade lumber that they use for DOT work. Its always weird to get, "Hello, this is Inmate Vasquez, how can I help you?"