The U.S. Army is authorized to create civilian prison labor camps on military installations, according to a little-noticed regulation.
The camps are allowed if the request comes from the Federal Bureau of Prisons or state corrections facilities under leasing requirements defined by federal law.
WND’s discovery of the regulation comes shortly after Bush administration directives expanding presidential powers during an emergency.
The Army prison camp policy is defined in Army Regulation 210-35, entitled “Installations: Civilian Inmate Labor Camps,” signed Feb. 14, 2005, by Sandra R. Riley, then-administrative assistant to the secretary of the Army.
The regulation revises an earlier civilian inmate labor camp regulation signed Dec. 9, 1997, under the Clinton administration.
Ned Christensen, spokesman for the U.S. Army Installation Management Command, confirmed to WND the 2005 version of Army Regulation 210-35 is currently valid and fully operative.
The regulation specifies “the Army’s primary purpose for allowing establishment of prison camps on Army installations is to use the resident nonviolent civilian inmate labor pool to work on the leased portions of the installation.”
The regulations specify Army personnel running the prison camps will prepare an “Inmate Labor Plan” that will comply with 18 U.S.C. 4125(a), governing civilian inmate labor.
That section of the U.S. Code allows the U.S. attorney general to make available to the heads of U.S. departments, including the Army, the services of U.S. prisoners to engage in labor, including “constructing or repairing roads, cleaning, maintaining and reforesting public lands, building levees and constructing or repairing any other public ways or works financed wholly or in major part by funds appropriated by Congress.”
The regulation currently limits the Army’s Civilian Inmate Labor Program “to using inmates from facilities under the control of the Federal Bureau of Prisons,” noting the bureau “provides civilian inmate labor free of charge to the Army.”
The regulation specifies that a benefit of the program to the Army is “providing a source of labor at no direct cost to Army installations to accomplish tasks that would not be possible otherwise due to the manning and funding constraints under which the Army operates.”
WND previously reported that in May President Bush signed National Security Presidential Directive-51 and Homeland Security Presidential Directive-20, which granted near-dictatorial powers to the president in the event he declares a national emergency.
The directives loosely define “catastrophic emergency” as “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy or government functions.
When the president determines a catastrophic emergency has occurred, he can take over governmental functions at all federal, state, local, territorial and tribal levels, as well as direct private sector activities, to ensure the U.S. emerges from the emergency “with an enduring constitutional government.”
That means, essentially, when the president determines a national emergency has occurred, he can confer to the office of the presidency powers usually assumed by dictators to direct any and all government and business activities until the emergency is over.
Christensen could not answer WND questions regarding whether the president could declare a national emergency under NSPD-51/HSPD-20 and instruct the Bureau of Prisons to have the Army construct civilian prison camps.
“The last time civilians were incarcerated on U.S. Army installations was when the Japanese were interred during World War II,” Christensen told WND.
Still, Christensen acknowledged that Fort Dix has two civilian labor prisons on its property, one federal and one state.
“Fort Dix routinely uses inmate labor for grounds maintenance and some other manual labor, such as filling sandbags,” Christensen told WND in an e-mail. “So, the Fort Dix program is used to provide activity for trusted inmates and labor to the government at no cost.”
WND also reported KBR, formerly the engineering and construction subsidiary of Halliburton Co., has a contingency contract in place with the Department of Homeland Security to construct detention facilities in the event of a national emergency.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, spokeswoman Julie Zuieback confirmed to WND on May 29 that the Department of Homeland Security in January awarded KBR a $385 million contract to construct detention facilities on a contingency basis.
Christensen said it was outside his area to comment on whether the DHS could ask KBR to build a civilian prison labor camp on an Army installation.
WND called the White House and the Department of Homeland Security and left detailed messages about the substance of this story but received no response.
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