I am all for helping people learn alternate ways of meeting their needs
especially when the ones they have been using are destructive to themselves and
others but: The suggestions I am reading really make me uncomfortable. I do
not see how you can have a sustainable system that is based on what is
basically peasant labor. I don't even want to buy my produce from the grocery
store because I have no reason to believe that the individuals who harvested
them were paid a living wage or treated with any degree of fairness. While
there is certainly a crying need to provide inmates with real, meaningful work,
I personally think we need to focus more on stopping this insane prison buildup
rather than to create what could very easily become a system that is dependent
on the exploitation of people, the vast majority of whom, have done nothing to
Sasha, getting off my soap box now
Gaoussou Diarra wrote:
> Hello there!
> I, too, am a new member of this group. Your ideas are refreshing in that
> they give the impression that you're concerned about the future of the
> prisoners. More often than not, the inmates are looked at with disdain and
> treated such that true recovery becomes near impossible. Your proposal of
> tapping the work force of prisoners seem reasonable in that working in
> close contact with the earth has a healing power and might very well lead
> into a complete recovery from crime. However, I am not sure about the
> logistics and details of this operation. How do you prevent the
> prisoners/laborers from running away? What are the risks that the farmers
> and their families take by accepting the inmates? How much should they be
> paid? Should they be returned to prison at the end of every day?
> You wrote,
> >I'm a fairly new participant in the world of organic and sustainable
> >farming and this list server has signifigantly contributed to my
> >education. I've surmised that organic agriculture is so expensive because
> >the labor is so expensive. There is a free labor source waiting to be
> >tapped--prisons. I know that many prisoners are contractecd out by
> >construction crews, but these are mostly males. Male and female prisoners
> >would be suited well for agricultural work.
> >Much of the prison population is illiterate, farm work is a learned low
> >skill profession that does not require literacy. Individuals would be
> >outside growing food which would provide emmence psychological and self
> >esteem benefits as well as practical job skills for their futures after
> >prison. The United States is increasingly experiencing a bulge in the
> >prison population, obviously the deterent factor of prison life is not
> >working. It is a cyclical problem which requires major social and
> >political overhaul. I have visited prisons and attended programs run by
> >the inmates. With increasing budget cuts, prisoners have less to do
> >inside of prisons and are becoming bored and angry. What happens when
> >they are released? How are they any better off?
> >I know there are several programs that work with prisoners to create
> >gardens and some agriculture, like those projects out in San Francisco run
> >by Cathrine Sneed. I'm curious if there are any farmers out there, who
> >contract out to prisoners, and how open growers are to this idea.
> >Prison labor for construction may have it's merits, but you can't eat a
> >Shoshanah Inwood
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