Christian Business Owners Accused of Using Slave Labor to Make Cornhole Games

The owners of a self-described Christian company that made wooden birdhouses and cornhole games are now being accused of using slave labor.

Stand Firm Designs — the website is down but you can see an archived version here — has a Bible verse on its home page and a logo that includes a Jesus Fish:

The Associated Press reports that the owners, who worked at a Nashville prison privately run by the Corrections Corporation of America, were allegedly using inmates to make the products without ever paying them:

Former inmates at a privately run Nashville jail say they worked without pay building bean-bag “cornhole” games, plaques shaped like footballs, birdhouses and dog beds so that officials could sell them through their personal business at a flea market.

Stand Firm Designs is operated by Rob Hill, a building trades instructor at the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility; Steven Binkley, a computer instructor who works out of a room adjoining the woodworking shop; and Roy Napper, who formerly worked at the jail run by Corrections Corporation of America.

The former inmates said Hill and Binkley also took orders from guards and higher-ups throughout the jail for the products they produced.

Unpaid labor by inmates is legal in certain circumstances as long as sales of the products don’t benefit prison employees. In this case, former inmates Larry Stephney and Charles Brew also felt they couldn’t refuse the work, believing they would be punished if they didn’t do it.

Maybe you’re wondering how they can prove they made these products. Turns out they devised a clever way to show off their handiwork:

To prove the items being sold by Stand Firm Designs were made by inmates, Stephney and Brew concealed their names under pieces of wood nailed to the backs of items. They also wrote the number 412148, which refers to a section of Tennessee code that makes it illegal for jail officials to require an inmate to perform labor that results in the official’s personal gain. The AP was shown some of the items with the concealed names and numbers.

While Napper denies the allegations and the other owners haven’t commented on record, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is looking into the matter.

You know, the Bible is very clear when it says “The laborer deserves his wages.”

Then again, the same verse says “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” so no wonder they didn’t take it seriously.

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