As the Corona Virus takes over the world, there is one way to battle it. It is by washing our hands regularly and using sanitizer to kill bacteria. This has, however, led to shortages of sanitizers all over the country and people have started to overstock items. As officials have ordered social isolation, people have begun to stock up on their supplies. However, some have gone so overboard that they have taken months worth of supplies including hand sanitizers. Because of this shortage the Governor of New York, Andrew M Cuomo, decided to use prison inmates to urgently produce more sanitizers.
His plan to use the prisoners was met with protest, however, because of the situation the world currently finds itself in, he has decided to proceed with his original idea. He unveiled the sanitizer made by Corcraft, a prison-based product company, last week, and it will be displayed in every store and supermarket across the country. He did warn online retailers, however, to not use the sanitizer for their own benefit or sell it overpriced because of the high demand.
He even believes that the product is better those currently on the market because of the high alcohol content, meaning it works more efficiently, and the better fragrances it comes with. He also emphasized that it was cheaper to make at just $6.10 per gallon.
Soon after his sales pitch he was criticized heavily by lawmakers and criminal justice reform groups. Some believed that prisoners should be given minimum wage like the rest if they are being relied upon in such a health crisis. In New York, inmates are often paid up to 60 cents an hour, which is way below minimum wage. This is why last year a bill was introduced to make the minimum wage for prisoners 3 dollars per hour.
Another thing that concerned people is that even though these prisoners might be making the sanitizer, they will not be able to use it because of the alcohol content within it which is forbidden in prison, as well as being threatened with solitary confinement if they refuse to work.
However, Corcraft, the prison-based company responsible for the manufacturing of the sanitizer, claims that job training and learning new skills are part of prison life and an essential skill for their development, helping them get back on their feet and giving them a way to earn.