SMALL BUSINESS: Nice Work But No Future

"Well done," said the Marine Corps when four prisoners in Pennsylvania's Eastern State Penitentiary completed their subcontract for wooden tent pegs. But the Philadelphia Record, delving into the business affairs of the convict-capitalists last week, was not so pleased. The reason: the four prisoners had grossed $58,300 in two years. In some months, their net profits ran as high as $450 apiece.

Over two years ago the Marine Corps contracted with the Pennsylvania State Department of Welfare for millions of tent pegs to be made in prison workshops at Eastern. Part of this fat contract was farmed out by the Welfare...

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