The New Democrat Online

Liberal Democrat

Liberal Democrat
Liberal Democracy

Saturday, August 6, 2011

ADC Inmates Working for Arizona: Putting Inmates to work



I believe if Prison Inmates are going to get free Room and Board and get most of the services they use in prison for free. Which I don't believe they should, at least not the inmates that behave themselves well enough not to be in lockdown 23 hours a day and in General Population. And I'll get to what I mean by that later, then they should be working in prison, the inmates that behave themselves well enough to hold a job in prison. And earn their Room and Board while in prison, I'm not for Chain Ganges prison jobs shouldn't be designed to punish inmates. And that essentially what a Chain Gang is, to scare inmates into behaving themselves. But actual Prison Jobs that are design to to give inmates Vocational Skills that they can use when they leave prions. But also to make the prisons more efficient, where they wouldn't have to contract out as many jobs, because they would have the inmates to do them. And these could be jobs just to keep the prison running effectively, live the Mess Hall, laundry, custodial, barber, plumbing, farming on Prison Farms. But there could also be jobs that are for more High Skilled workers, skills that they could use to work a legal job once they are out of prison. Like in computers, construction, Auto Mechanics as well as jobs in the Non Profit Community Service Industry. Like counseling At Risk Youth for example, explaining some of the mistakes they made that landed them in prison. But not just to At Risk Youth but First Time Offenders who are in prison for the first time and a have a Release Date. We should bring back Prison Industry's and put our inmates back to work, because back in the day some of our prisons were Self Financed and paid for themselves. Meaning they didn't have to compete with other Law Enforcement, education, infrastructure etc for Tax Payer funds. Because most of the inmates had jobs in prison and the prisons could produce and sell what they needed to fund themselves.

The American Corrections System has gone so far down the road of punishment and locking people way indefinitely in their cells. To the point that we now spend more money on prisons then education and infrastructure in America. And if anything our Corrections System is growing in America and becoming more expensive and taking more money out of our education and infrastructure. Because our prisons unlike our education and infrastructure isn't Self Financed. We fund our education mostly through Property Taxes but we are now taking some of those Property Taxes to pay for our Corrections Departments. Because of how fast our Corrections Systems have grown in America . Partially because of the failed War on Drugs but also because we have a lot of Repeat Offenders. People coming back to prison because they don't have the skills to succeed on the outside legally and a lot of these inmates get released right out of Solitary Confinement without any skills. So a simple thing like being around a lot of people like at a Grocery Store is a huge experience for them and a lot of them can't handle it. Putting our inmates to school and then to work the inmates that want to better themselves would give them a good opportunity to stay free once they are released.

For about twenty years now we've tried the approach of "lock up and throw away the key" and it has completely failed. We now have more inmates, more prisons, more Repeat Offenders, more Violent Offenders. Its time that we try a different approach one thats aimed at giving our inmates a shot at becoming Productive Citizens once they are released and most of them get released.