Prison Labor Firm Will Sell You Plastic Cups and Patriot Missiles

At UNICOR, prisoners build everything, for everyone, in every field

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Wired has an eye-opening post about the the contributions of a company called UNICOR to the new line of Patriot missiles. Formerly Federal Prison Industries, UNICOR employs employs 20,000 prisoners -- some at just 23 cents an hour -- to build products for the home, office, and battlefield. Besides the Patriot missile, what else is there out there for people who want to Buy Convict? A tour of UNICOR's website yields six must-have items. (All images via

Riot helmets
Fed up with bulky riot helmets that break the moment a suspect begins wailing on them? Then consider UNICOR-brand riot helmets. They offer the "strong but lightweight protection" you can only get from molded polycarbonate. And the chin straps are fully adjustable

Fingerprint Kits
If you've ever been fingerprinted by agents from the Department of Homeland Security or U.S. Border Patrol, chances are they used a UNICOR-built kit. "Highly user friendly" and available in ink and inkless varieties, each kit comes with a fresh supply of "fingerprint cards, pads and cleansing towelettes."

Loud speakers
The ideal loud speaker for "military, first responder, emergency management, border control, harbor patrol, search and rescue, crowd control and law enforcement activities." Anyone else who needs to be INCREDIBLY LOUD for professional or personal reasons should consider a different model.

Salt fog chambers
A must-have for anyone who wants to measure "corrosion by means of a salt residue being deposited on them or by generating a salt fog atmosphere." Llike any salt fog chamber worth its salt, the design permits "direct visual observation of the all times."

Plastic forks and cups
Developed in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Prison's food service staff, these  "high-quality, heavy-duty" plastic utensils are designed to withstand "demanding, high-security food service operations." If you can't wait, expedited three to five day shipping is available.

Flood lights
Need flood lights in the Central Highlands of Vietnam by Thursday? UNICOR is ready to ship "on rapid notice" to locations around the globe. Unlike Best Buy, they also stock all replacement parts .

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.