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  #1  
Old 09-06-2009, 11:43 PM
RML RML is offline
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What do prisoners do all day?

I read a newspaper article today about how they are closing some prisons in Michigan because of budget cuts. Why do the prisons cost taxpayers money? Why not put the prisoners to work and have the prisons be at least budget neutral? What do they do all day anyway? Watch TV? Go to the recreation center? Why not set up exercise bikes to generate electricity? If I want to watch TV, I have to pay an electric and cable bill. One could set up equipment so an inmate earns power credits to run his TV or radio or lights. No credits, no electricity.

Why not bring in some productive industry and put the inmates to work to support the prison facility? What, are we violating some kind of rights? This makes sense to me. And a prisoner could leave with some meaningful, productive skill.
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  #2  
Old 09-07-2009, 12:26 AM
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Reality!

Laws exist that prevent prison labor industries from competing with regular businesses who would be unable to match the costs differences of inmate labor.

In virtually every prison in the United States taxpayers do not pay a single cent for cable TV, recreation equipment or anything but the most basic of supplies, i.e. lye soap, tooth powder, prison uniforms, tooth brushes. Virtually all these basic supplies are the products of prison labor industries, in many if not all southern states prison systems the vast majority of food is prison produced. There is a large trade between prison systems purchasing prison made goods inexpensively from each other. In Florida's Department of Corrections the Inmate Welfare Fund even pays for such things as building chapels, visitor parks, and recreation fields and facilities. The Inmate Welfare Fund operates on profits from the sales of commissary items to inmates within the prison, vending machines and pay phones.

In the Florida the actual prison construction is very often done by inmate labor from the foundation to the finishing. In Florida even the lumber is produced with inmate labor! When a trench 4000’ long, 3 foot wide, and 6 foot deep is needed to run electrical service it would be perfectly normal for the prison officials to arrive on the site in a truck with a couple hundred shovels, and picks and conscript every inmate on the recreation field and waiting in a 200 person line to use one of five pay phones on Saturday or Sunday morning, put them all to work and have that trench dug in a couple hours. This would be after working 40 hours Monday through Friday in fields harvesting crops, tilling fields, slaughtering chickens/ hogs/ cattle, a factory making uniforms, shoes, sheets, blankets, mattresses, toothbrushes, soap, canning vegetables

The largest percentage and by far the majority of expenses regarding prison operations is the wages, benefits, and pensions of unionized Correction Officers and administrators.
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  #3  
Old 09-07-2009, 12:30 AM
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Why not outsource prisons to a foreign country? This way you reduce costs put them to work in call centers.
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  #4  
Old 09-07-2009, 01:49 AM
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Average $75,000 per prisoner per year costs.

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Robbers,Bankers,Hedge Fund Managers,Child Molesters, gang bangers and assorted former members of congress?

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  #5  
Old 09-07-2009, 02:03 AM
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Why not stop sending millions of non-violent drug "offenders" there in the first place? These folks did nothing of importance wrong and should be contributing to the tax roles, rather than drawing them down. The drug war has been lost for some time, so let's just declare "victory" and move on and collect taxes from these significant agricultural commodities. A win-win situation, fo' sho
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Old 09-07-2009, 03:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by auspumpen View Post
Why not stop sending millions of non-violent drug "offenders" there in the first place? These folks did nothing of importance wrong and should be contributing to the tax roles, rather than drawing them down. The drug war has been lost for some time, so let's just declare "victory" and move on and collect taxes from these significant agricultural commodities. A win-win situation, fo' sho
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Old 09-07-2009, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by RML View Post
I read a newspaper article today about how they are closing some prisons in Michigan because of budget cuts. Why do the prisons cost taxpayers money? Why not put the prisoners to work and have the prisons be at least budget neutral? .
Because the Michigan Prisoners' Union won't let them work, and if the Governor tries to make them work, they have threatened to go on strike.

Happy Labor Day!
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  #8  
Old 09-07-2009, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by alabbasi View Post
Why not outsource prisons to a foreign country? This way you reduce costs put them to work in call centers.
Australia?
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  #9  
Old 09-07-2009, 06:07 PM
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I live in Houston, Harris County and the prisoners here sit in jails. Damn shame to waste such talent. However, I work in Brenham, Washington County, Texas and there we make those guys wear the black and white stripe outfits and they mow gov't grass, pick up trash along the highway, and pull weeds around the courthouse. I don't see what the hell is wrong with that.
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  #10  
Old 09-07-2009, 06:31 PM
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I have an opinion on this subject, like stated before non violent prisoners, like white collar and other non violent offenders should be able to buy there way out of a prison sentence. and the violent ones should get counseling and have to work hard labor every day so they can work out their aggression.
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Old 09-08-2009, 09:04 AM
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When I want to prison a few years ago (just for a visit), most of the regular prisoners rotated through outdoor activities - exercise/basketball, chow, sleeping, sitting and watching TV in a common area. They also had the opportunity to take classes for a GED. Lots of marching in lines.

The more hard core guys were given the same rotation but in progressively smaller groups until you got to the supermax guys (I was not allowed to see them). The worst of the worst were pretty much shackled all the time with escorts every where they went.
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  #12  
Old 09-08-2009, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by toomany MBZ View Post
Australia?
Nahh, they tried that once and look how it turned out!

I suppose there's a few tropical islands in the South Pacific which could be used but you'd have mass riots with people forming lines to rob banks, beating each other up to steal cars, etc., just to be sent to prison. Sigh, there's always a fly in the ointment.
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Old 09-08-2009, 12:08 PM
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I visited the local county lockup once and aside from watch TV, they pump up and read.
How contraband like cell phones get in when not supplied by guards, amazes me.

I can't get on an airliner with a bottle of water, yet somehow people smuggle cell phones and other contraband into prisons!

I get that in some cases the guards are paid off, but I'm not talking about those.
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  #14  
Old 09-08-2009, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by POS View Post
I live in Houston, Harris County and the prisoners here sit in jails. Damn shame to waste such talent. However, I work in Brenham, Washington County, Texas and there we make those guys wear the black and white stripe outfits and they mow gov't grass, pick up trash along the highway, and pull weeds around the courthouse. I don't see what the hell is wrong with that.
I would put money on it's probably a labor union issue.

Our town had a maximum security prison until 1963 (last electrocution in the state in 1960) when it closed and the state tore it down and built the Dept. of Motor Vehicles building. My grandfather always lamented that change saying the town was never cleaner and well kept than it was by the inmate work crews who did everything from clearing sidewalks in the winter weeding flower beds to maintaining the youth sports fields. They also did the cleanup heavy lifting after the 1936 flood.

Instead we have the DMV which is a trash and litter magnet. Having a prison certainly carries some stigma but talking with the old-timers in town who lived through both the prison and the DMV, they preferred the prison.
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  #15  
Old 09-08-2009, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampYankee View Post
I would put money on it's probably a labor union issue.

.
That is what it is in Michigan, prisoners cannot be used for labor in anything that a labor union has contracted employees to do.
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