Below I copy a single paragraph extract from page 155 of the following source:
Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann, “State-Induced Famine and Penal Starvation in North Korea,” Genocide Studies and Prevention 7, 2/3 (August/December 2012): 147–165.
The North Korean regime is responsible not only for famine, but also for a deliberate policy of subjecting its prisoners to starvation rations. The government maintains a large system of repressive slave labor camps—in effect, a gulag—in which prisoners are even more likely to starve than the general population. Rations are far below what is needed to maintain health and were so even before the food shortages and famine of the 1990s: “Prisoners are provided only enough food to be kept perpetually on the verge of starvation.” Food is allocated on the basis of productivity: the less a prisoner produces, the less he eats, resulting in a spiral downward as those deprived of even more food produce less and less. Many in the camps die from lack of food, while some are executed for foraging; in one case a prisoner was executed for eating ripe chestnuts that had fallen at the entrance of a slave labor mine.
The article is freely available on line and is worthwhile reading in full.
Hat Tip: Paul Bogdanor.