What do breaded chicken patties, office chairs and cruise missiles used in Libya have in common? They are all made by America’s 100,000-strong secret workforce: prisoners.

Since the 1990s, the American Legislative Exchange Council has helped states turn prisoners into a source of cheap labor for corporate America. On Democracy Now!, Mike Elk explains the hidden history of ALEC and prison labor, and the group’s latest effort to privatize America’s parole system. You can read Elk’s piece on ALEC’s prison policies here.

Kevin Donohoe