Colorado to make War on Drugs work
Monday, March 05, 2007
(SNN Colorado Springs) Colorado farmers may soon have another cash crop in their fields: inmates.
In a pilot program, Department of Corrections inmates will be supplied to harvest crops in the southwest portion of the state. Inmates volunteering for the work will make 60 cents a day.
But Ari Zavaras, executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, said the merit of a hard day’s work outdoors was invaluable to an inmate. “They won’t be paid big bucks, but we’re hoping this will help our inmates pick up significant and valuable job skills,” said Zavaras. The list of things the Inmate can pick up from this program is long. The inmates can pick up things such as sweet corn, peppers, watermelons, onions and pumpkins
A group calling for changes in sentencing, the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition is positive about the change. “This feels like the re-invention of the plantation,” said Christie Donner, the group’s executive director. “You have a captive labor force essentially working for their room and board in order to benefit the employer. This isn’t a job training program. It’s an exploitative program.”
It makes a romantic image. Rich Colorado farmers sitting on the porch of their plantation in white suits sipping lemonade or perhaps mint julep. In the fields, prison guards stand over the inmates with whips, encouraging good time management, as well as other important job skills such as how to dress for an interview.
DubyaCo cannot be gone soon enough.