Go To Jail, Someone Loses A Job
I recently picked up a copy of the Goshen County Democrat, the once a week newspaper of our neighbors to the north. The headline read “Inmate Workforce Program Saving County Money”. It sounded interesting, so I read it. The article immediately sounded off about how their new plan was a win-win solution. A solution to what? The article never said.
Apparently, the somewhat recently elected sheriff had implemented a plan to use the inmate workforce of the county jail to maintain roads, build structures for government use, clean roadways, and maintain and cook food at the county jail. They also act as janitors and maintenance personnel for the county buildings. The sheriff is also boasting that there are fewer county employees on the payroll now than there was before the plan were implemented, thus saving the county money.
It sounds to me like he is saving the county money because his bright idea has done away with about 100 jobs over the last 2 years.
The program has a good side. It allows inmates to learn valuable skills while reducing their time served through work. I guess that in the long run the measure will eventually reduce the unemployment rate, but not necessarily in their own county. The inmates will learn a new trade and then move away to a more populated area to implement it.
I have frequently seen inmate road crews working to pick up trash and clear off the shoulders of debris and overgrowth in a “Cool Hand Luke-ish” sort of way. Some are in stripes, others are in civilian clothes, which usually means they are serving a community service sentence. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Until I read the article, I thought that was all they did.
Maybe I am old fashioned. It seems to me that once a person is rightfully and justfully convicted of a crime, they do their time in a jail, or in a prison doing whatever it is they do in a 6X8 jail cell. It seems almost like a reward to let them out among the community to work and interact with the regular citizens who are suffering as a result of the loss of their jobs because of this program and other programs like it. It is no different than rubbing it in the community’s face, and in today’s economy, that is not a good thing. The county does not have to pay these workers one red cent for their work and that saves the county hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
I think that the new sheriff in that town needs to realize that the voters that he is putting out of work will remember how they got there.
Thank goodness I live in Lulawissie.
©2011 by Del Banks
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