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(GPB News)   Win-Win: Vidalia onion farmers don't need illegal aliens to pick crops in Georgia, prison inmates are working out just fine   (gpb.org) divider line 264
    More: Spiffy, workamping, farmers, crops  
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5492 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Jun 2012 at 2:08 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-06-09 05:30:09 PM  

rewind2846: Great Janitor:

So, people break the law, go to prison where they spend their time, why not have them work to help balance out the cost of their incarseration? What is wrong with saying that it costs money to lock you up for the crime(s) that you've committed, and we're going to have you work to cover that cost? If the pay off is that prisons become self supporting entities capable of surviving without tax dollars, isn't that more money that can be shifted from keeping the prisons running to going to feed the homeless and improving our schools?


One more time (damn it's like talking to a rock!)...
The harm is when the state leases prisoners to private companies and corporations to make those companies and corporations more profitable. This is not working in the prison laundry or mess hall or furniture shop or making license plates. The article is about state prisoners working on a private farmer's fiends, picking onions because the farmer was too cheapsh*t to pay people (citizens) enough to do the job. This is wrong.

We as a society choose to lock these people up for breaking our laws. I for one do not wish to see prisons become "self-sustaining" because there should be a cost and consequences to locking people away, just as there are costs to committing crime. When we as a society decide to make some act or thing illegal (like marijuana), we should consider the costs of that decision, not just in time and effort and space but in dollars and cents. When you put someone in a cell, you should think not only about what it costs them, but what it costs you.

The inmates pay with the days, months and years of their lives. That is all they owe, yet it is the most anyone can ever take. You might understand that if you were a little older and had less time left.


rewind2846: Great Janitor:

So, people break the law, go to prison where they spend their time, why not have them work to help balance out the cost of their incarseration? What is wrong with saying that it costs money to lock you up for the crime(s) that you've committed, and we're going to have you work to cover that cost? If the pay off is that prisons become self supporting entities capable of surviving without tax dollars, isn't that more money that can be shifted from keeping the prisons running to going to feed the homeless and improving our schools?


One more time (damn it's like talking to a rock!)...
The harm is when the state leases prisoners to private companies and corporations to make those companies and corporations more profitable. This is not working in the prison laundry or mess hall or furniture shop or making license plates. The article is about state prisoners working on a private farmer's fiends, picking onions because the farmer was too cheapsh*t to pay people (citizens) enough to do the job. This is wrong.

We as a society choose to lock these people up for breaking our laws. I for one do not wish to see prisons become "self-sustaining" because there should be a cost and consequences to locking people away, just as there are costs to committing crime. When we as a society decide to make some act or thing illegal (like marijuana), we should consider the costs of that decision, not just in time and effort and space but in dollars and cents. When you put someone in a cell, you should think not only about what it costs them, but what it costs you.

The inmates pay with the days, months and years of their lives. That is all they owe, yet it is the most anyone can ever take. You might understand that if you were a little older and had less time left.


Let's look at it this way, state and federal budgets are beyond tight. Creating self funding prisons are going to have to become a reality. And I am sorry, but you are wrong about society having to bare the costs of housing prisoners. A drug dealer getting 10 years shouldn't be paid for with tax dollars while we have teachers getting laid off and homeless on the streets.
 
2012-06-09 05:35:46 PM  

violentsalvation: AbbeySomeone: FTFA"part of the check goes toward defraying the cost of their incarceration", or something.
Yeah, clever how that worked out. How many 'favors' is this judge involved in?

That shiat bothers me. If the state decides I am guilty of a crime then they can foot the bill for my incarceration, I'm not going to work off my supposed dues slaving away in an onion field.


What we have here is failure in communication......
 
2012-06-09 05:36:47 PM  
Laid off teachers, HOMELESS ON THE STREETS!!! For fark's sake.
 
2012-06-09 05:39:00 PM  

rewind2846: Nabb1:
Of course not, but that's why a defendant has an absolute right to counsel, and the duties of counsel are to help his client make an informed decision. Are you arguing that defense attorneys are in some sort of conspiratorial relationship with the prosecutors and courts?

And exactly how effective is your average overworked, underpaid public defender at fully educating their clients about their choices, the consequences of those choices, and all the legal considerations and law pertinent to their particular case... in the grand total of the hour or less (if they're lucky) they might spend with said client before such a decision is to be made? And will the client fully understand and have time to make that totally informed and well-thought out decision?

Thus is the dilemma. In a perfect world, there would be time for all this, and the defendant might understand all of it as well and be able to make the decision logically. Unfortunately, we live in this world, where that ain't so. As I said... you take what they give you. You have no power. It's not a conspiracy, it's the system we have made.


Do you have any firsthand knowledge or experience with indigent defense work?
 
2012-06-09 05:41:30 PM  

DrewCurtisJr: rewind2846: This isn't a "work program" like cleaning up roadside garbage on state highways or doing maintenance on school buildings... this is enriching private industry for profit because they farked up. NOT. THE. SAME.

Not that difficult to understand, people. It's right there in the article.

So what if it's for private industry? What does that have to do with the incentives and benefits for the inmates to participate?


IN this case it's using prison inmates to solve a problem that private industry brought on themselves. If that industry simply asked for a check from the state because they lost their crop for the year due to their own actions, would you approve of the state writing that check? This is the same thing, only with people as the currency, and private companies still making the profits. There is no "incentive or benefit" here, because the money from the produce goes to the private company, not the state, which doesn't get enough to cover costs in any way.

What happens to these companies is the textbook example of how the free market is supposed to work. They made the decision not to hire citizens, let them suffer... or do you believe in the government "picking winners and losers"?
 
2012-06-09 05:42:47 PM  

Restil: Because People in power are Stupid: violentsalvation: AbbeySomeone: FTFA"part of the check goes toward defraying the cost of their incarceration", or something.
Yeah, clever how that worked out. How many 'favors' is this judge involved in?

That shiat bothers me. If the state decides I am guilty of a crime then they can foot the bill for my incarceration, I'm not going to work off my supposed dues slaving away in an onion field.

We agree on the issue. There is a financial incentive for the state to incarcerate people.

Of course, if what you are saying is that you will resist your slavers -I'm sure they'll understand and treat you well.

[www.masters-of-photography.com image 640x402]

There is no financial incentive to incarcerate people. The state is still losing money even with most of the inmate's salary going to pay for the incarceration. The state only makes money from a working citizen who is out there spending money and paying taxes.


For. Profit. Prisons. Lobby YOUR representative for harsher penalties and longer prison terms because it Make. Them. Money. They don't care what it costs the state.
 
2012-06-09 05:43:25 PM  
Arizona has provided the state's farmers with prison inmate labor for over 20 years.

Link

"There was one woman that is on oxygen, in a wheelchair, has an IV line and cancer that they sent to the gate to work on the farm ... The captain asked if she could stand. She said yes. His reply was if you can stand, you can farm. She told him no and was issued a disciplinary ticket."

$2 to $3 per hour.
 
2012-06-09 05:46:00 PM  

Nabb1:

Do you have any firsthand knowledge or experience with indigent defense work?


My brother, who has worked as a corrections officer and county sheriff for 23 years in California. This is what he tells me, and he's seen plenty. I tend to believe him. I happen to live 10 miles from him, so we talk often.

/he can't wait to retire
 
2012-06-09 05:50:06 PM  

rewind2846: DrewCurtisJr: rewind2846: This isn't a "work program" like cleaning up roadside garbage on state highways or doing maintenance on school buildings... this is enriching private industry for profit because they farked up. NOT. THE. SAME.

Not that difficult to understand, people. It's right there in the article.

So what if it's for private industry? What does that have to do with the incentives and benefits for the inmates to participate?

IN this case it's using prison inmates to solve a problem that private industry brought on themselves. If that industry simply asked for a check from the state because they lost their crop for the year due to their own actions, would you approve of the state writing that check? This is the same thing, only with people as the currency, and private companies still making the profits. There is no "incentive or benefit" here, because the money from the produce goes to the private company, not the state, which doesn't get enough to cover costs in any way.

What happens to these companies is the textbook example of how the free market is supposed to work. They made the decision not to hire citizens, let them suffer... or do you believe in the government "picking winners and losers"?


Some of the money from the produce goes to the state, since the farmer is paying the state for the inmates.
And, by getting the harvest in, the state doesn't have to pay crop insurance.
 
2012-06-09 05:55:20 PM  

VictoryCabal: Why do they refuse to allow the free market to work?

Farmers didn't want to pay market rate wages, so they hired illegal immigrants. When the supply of illegals dries up, they lobby to hire prisoners.

If you say you can't get people to pick your onions, what you're saying is that you can't get people to pick your onions for the rate you want to pay. Which means you're not paying enough.


When it's more economical to let your plants rot in the field than raise your rates to levels that will bring job seekers, there's something dreadfully wrong with the economic model being used.

/And farm subsidies are the chief culprit in that flawed model.
 
2012-06-09 05:55:34 PM  

Space_Poet: Shakespeare's Sister: This may be the first honest day's work many have done.

All prisoners are vagabond riff-raff that have never worked an honest day in their lives, and they smell like poopy and they were mean to me once! You tell em girl!


Ummm. . .what? Do you get fever with these fits?

I did not say they are "vagabond riff-raff," as you so eloquently put it. People are often in prison because they tried to get illegally that which you and I get legally--by working, earning money, and paying for it. It is not honest to break into someone's home or a business and steal that which you will not work to buy. It is not honest to steal a car or other items that you will not work to buy. The results of these activities are not from an honest day of work. This in unlike what I purchase, which comes from the money I earn from my honest job.

The idea of working to earn something, instead of waiting for someone else to earn the money and buy it just so the criminal can steal it, may not be an idea that criminal would even begin to entertain. He or she may feel "entitled" to those goods or, that because of circumstances, he or she is "owed" that stuff. These feelings make the likelihood of a job, waiting two weeks for a paycheck, and then buying something, unappealing.

Many of my cousins, some friends, and one of my mom's boyfriends has been to jail. I know the circumstances surrounding all of these events. I am speaking from a place of experience. The crimes these people committed were: robbery, grand theft auto, prostitution, possession with the intent to sell, petty theft, possession, and other crimes.

So, please, before you get your self-righteous indignation in an uproar, and post some snarky comment which, in truth, contributes nothing to the conversation except that you feel better about yourself, try to post something that reflects critical thought and observation.

"smell like poopy" Really?! What are you, 12?
"you get em girl" Really? Oprah is off the air.
 
2012-06-09 05:55:59 PM  

rewind2846: Nabb1:

Do you have any firsthand knowledge or experience with indigent defense work?

My brother, who has worked as a corrections officer and county sheriff for 23 years in California. This is what he tells me, and he's seen plenty. I tend to believe him. I happen to live 10 miles from him, so we talk often.

/he can't wait to retire


Well, his life experience definately trumps Nabb's.
 
2012-06-09 05:58:04 PM  

violentsalvation: Dancin_In_Anson: violentsalvation: If the state decides I am guilty of a crime then they can foot the bill for my incarceration,

Because it's up to the state to pay for your misdeeds.

No it is up to the state not to use me as slave labor for private businesses, sorry they and you are too stupid or corruptible to call a spade a spade.


Torn on this but how about a state run business? Some prisons make furniture, cabinets etc. Of course that puts them in competition with private businesses who do not have the cheap labor.

If properly regulated and inspected I do not have a problem with this. If the prisoners are out doing something productive even picking onions they are less likely to riot. citizen is being put out of a job. Make it voluntary with time in the fields counting as time toward parole.

Hard work is not cruel and unusual punishment.
 
2012-06-09 06:01:50 PM  

hasty ambush: violentsalvation: Dancin_In_Anson: violentsalvation: If the state decides I am guilty of a crime then they can foot the bill for my incarceration,

Because it's up to the state to pay for your misdeeds.

No it is up to the state not to use me as slave labor for private businesses, sorry they and you are too stupid or corruptible to call a spade a spade.

Torn on this but how about a state run business? Some prisons make furniture, cabinets etc. Of course that puts them in competition with private businesses who do not have the cheap labor.

If properly regulated and inspected I do not have a problem with this. If the prisoners are out doing something productive even picking onions they are less likely to riot. citizen is being put out of a job. Make it voluntary with time in the fields counting as time toward parole.

Hard work is not cruel and unusual punishment.


Well, it's certainly not unusual.
 
2012-06-09 06:05:25 PM  
Step 1: ruined the economy, causing people to lose their jobs and resort to crime to survive
Step 2: force prisoners to work for private corporations
Step 3: profit
 
2012-06-09 06:12:46 PM  

ghare: Yet another reason I've told my kids to get out of the US and into a civilized country, like Russia.


And you're still here why?
 
2012-06-09 06:13:02 PM  

rewind2846: Nabb1:

Do you have any firsthand knowledge or experience with indigent defense work?

My brother, who has worked as a corrections officer and county sheriff for 23 years in California. This is what he tells me, and he's seen plenty. I tend to believe him. I happen to live 10 miles from him, so we talk often.

/he can't wait to retire


The short answer to my question is "no." I'm sure your brother has seen a lot of things, though.
 
2012-06-09 06:14:51 PM  

rewind2846: There is no "incentive or benefit" here, because the money from the produce goes to the private company, not the state, which doesn't get enough to cover costs in any way.


I don't know about this program but prison labor programs aren't usually free. The farmers have to pay an hourly wage for the inmate workers and the state gets a portion of that.
 
2012-06-09 06:15:13 PM  

Great Janitor: Honestly, I don't have a problem with this, if the money is used to cover the cost of the prison. Prisons aren't free, they cost a ton of tax payer money, so why not make the prisoners employees to farms with contracts that the prisoners are paid minimum wage, that money goes to the prison and the prison pays the prisoners that prison wage. And no, this isn't the prison making money off of the prisoners. This is the prisoners basically paying rent, food, water and electricity with very little money left over. You know, like everyone else living on minimum wage.


I think locking any person up against their will SHOULD cost the state "a ton" of money. We already have WAY too many in prison today. Making it cheaper (or even profitable) for the state to imprison even more people is a recipe for making this American disaster even worse still.

Do you really want America to become a literal prison state?
 
2012-06-09 06:20:19 PM  

YouPeopleAreCrazy: ghare: Yet another reason I've told my kids to get out of the US and into a civilized country, like Russia.

And you're still here why?


Do you have any idea how difficult it is to relocate. I'd do manual labor in the UK if offered the job.
 
2012-06-09 06:25:55 PM  

Riche: We already have WAY too many in prison today.


We have a lot of people in prison, but that's where they belong because they are criminals.
 
2012-06-09 06:26:25 PM  
The problem here is that we have too many onion farmers and too few buyers of onions. Inexorably, profit margins are driven towards zero by competition among the farmers. There's not enough money to pay onion pickers what it takes to avoid labor shortages.

So I guess the solution is just what we have: consolidation of the farming industry. Surely, that will allow big ag to charge big supermarkets more, and then big ag can pay onion pickers more. Then we won't have an onion picker shortage..

/makes as much sense as anything I've read here.
 
2012-06-09 06:28:50 PM  

hasty ambush: violentsalvation: Dancin_In_Anson: violentsalvation: If the state decides I am guilty of a crime then they can foot the bill for my incarceration,

Because it's up to the state to pay for your misdeeds.

No it is up to the state not to use me as slave labor for private businesses, sorry they and you are too stupid or corruptible to call a spade a spade.

Torn on this but how about a state run business? Some prisons make furniture, cabinets etc. Of course that puts them in competition with private businesses who do not have the cheap labor.

If properly regulated and inspected I do not have a problem with this. If the prisoners are out doing something productive even picking onions they are less likely to riot. citizen is being put out of a job. Make it voluntary with time in the fields counting as time toward parole.

Hard work is not cruel and unusual punishment.


I believe that if a state and its citizens want laws on the books then they should have to pony up the cash to incarcerate them, and if they are incapable or unwilling to fund that then they need to reconsider some of their laws and punishments. There is an incentive to incarcerate people if they are asked to work to pay for their room and board. Stamping license plates and making furniture or printing paperwork for government operations is one thing but sending prisoners to work pathetic wages in private businesses, partially to recoup the cost of incarceration, is feeding a revolving door prison system and asking for corruption.
 
2012-06-09 06:47:37 PM  

rewind2846: DrewCurtisJr:

A lot of work programs also qualify as good behavior/self improvement credit and you can reduce your sentence and is generally seen favorably in parole hearings.

This isn't a "work program" like cleaning up roadside garbage on state highways or doing maintenance on school buildings... this is enriching private industry for profit because they farked up. NOT. THE. SAME.

Not that difficult to understand, people. It's right there in the article.


Ya, it's not even working stuff we'd like the state to do. It's just the introduction of sub minimum wage workers to the private market.

As far as slave labor goes: do they want to work instead of sit in a cell? Sure. Do they accept three bucks an hour? Yea. Would non prisoners do it for that? Hell no. are they in prison by free will? Noooope.

So ya, call it volunteer or slave labor. Don't call it a job done for money.
 
2012-06-09 06:55:49 PM  

Nabb1:

The short answer to my question is "no." I'm sure your brother has seen a lot of things, though.


And yours is... what? What I may not know I can at least drive up the road or pick up the phone and ask a person who does to find out. Unless you have the same type or length of experience with the system, then your advice is not to be taken as seriously, even on FARK.
/especially on FARK
 
2012-06-09 06:56:52 PM  

BronyMedic: Amos Quito: Prosecutor: Look, punk, this is serious shiat. If this goes to trial you're looking at 5-10 years behind bars - minimum. If you accept the plea bargain, we'll do our best to see that you get only one year - maybe even probation.

Defendant: 5 to 10 YEARS?

Prosecutor: Yup.

Defendant: But I'm innocent! Still I'm scared to death! What should I do Mr. Attorney?

Public Defender: Like he says, you'll probably get probation. Why take the chance? Take the plea bargain.

Defendant: B-b-but... Shiat! Okay... where do I sign?


You're an idiot if you take a plea bargain on anything on a "promise".



And of course there are no "idiots" in prison.

Amirite?
 
2012-06-09 07:00:20 PM  

Nabb1: rewind2846: Nabb1:

Do you have any firsthand knowledge or experience with indigent defense work?

My brother, who has worked as a corrections officer and county sheriff for 23 years in California. This is what he tells me, and he's seen plenty. I tend to believe him. I happen to live 10 miles from him, so we talk often.

/he can't wait to retire

The short answer to my question is "no." I'm sure your brother has seen a lot of things, though.


You realize that your firsthand knowledge is as secondhand to the rest of fark as his secondhand knowledge, right?

Why should I believe a stranger any more than a strangers brother.
 
2012-06-09 07:05:37 PM  

Smackledorfer: So ya, call it volunteer or slave labor. Don't call it a job done for money.


There are other benefits to working besides money. When these guys get out they will need to find a job, not any easy task for an ex-con. Everyone knows farm labor is hard work, if they can land a job in farming and establish a work history it may help them find something better.
 
2012-06-09 07:15:13 PM  

DrewCurtisJr: Riche: We already have WAY too many in prison today.

We have a lot of people in prison, but that's where they belong because they are criminals.


Because we have too many laws that criminalize the most retarded things in order to finance the prison system.

If you honestly think someone who smokes some weed deserves 15 years in prison, get out of the US and go to a country that fits your draconian view of the world.
 
2012-06-09 07:17:44 PM  

Keizer_Ghidorah: If you honestly think someone who smokes some weed deserves 15 years in prison, get out of the US and go to a country that fits your draconian view of the world.


You really think our prisons are full of weed smokers? What have you been smoking? as if I need to ask.
 
2012-06-09 07:19:05 PM  
Marcus Aurelius [TotalFark] 2012-06-09 12:34:31 PM

violentsalvation: Chariset: GAT_00: How do you know it's voluntary? It doesn't say anywhere in there they volunteered.

As cynical as I can be sometimes, I'd say these probably are volunteer laborers, if only because coercing work out of unwilling workers would be too much trouble and counter-productive. If someone were out there who didn't want to be there, wouldn't he just smash up the onions, pick fights with other prisoners, or play in the dirt all day?

I'm sure they are volunteers. Because pulling onions like a slave and smelling outside air is better than sitting in prison. It still does not make it right.

And why stop with onions? They can just as well build highways or hang drywall or work on an assembly line. There's virtually no difference.


Prisoners are already doing call center work.
 
2012-06-09 07:25:13 PM  
The prison system: Making slavery legal since the abolition of slavery.
 
2012-06-09 07:30:52 PM  

DrewCurtisJr: Keizer_Ghidorah: If you honestly think someone who smokes some weed deserves 15 years in prison, get out of the US and go to a country that fits your draconian view of the world.

You really think our prisons are full of weed smokers? What have you been smoking? as if I need to ask.


I don't, thank you. But the War on Drugs has certainly swelled the prison population by a large amount, and the sentences are often harsher than the ones for worse non-drug crimes.
 
2012-06-09 07:41:04 PM  

Keizer_Ghidorah: But the War on Drugs has certainly swelled the prison population by a large amount, and the sentences are often harsher than the ones for worse non-drug crimes.


Yes, but the war on drugs encompasses a lot of things, but not locking up people for 15 years solely for smoking weed.
 
2012-06-09 07:48:20 PM  

Smackledorfer:
You realize that your firsthand knowledge is as secondhand to the rest of fark as his secondhand knowledge, right?

Why should I believe a stranger any more than a strangers brother.


I have no idea. That's or you to decide. Since my experience with the judicial system is only as a juror, I defer to someone who has been in and around said system for most of his working life. If he wanted to know how to use photoshop, he would come to me, as I've been using it since version 3.0.

If you want to believe in that tv world where every public defender has nothing but their clients' best interest in mind at all times and can work tirelessly to get that client the very best information they can, as well as have that client understand the full ramifications of any decision they make based on that information... well, have I got a bridge for you. Special price too.

Out here in the real world, defendants can be stupid, and they can be ignorant (lack of knowledge). They can be apathetic, and they can be pants-wetting scared. They can be evil, and they can be bugf*ck insane. And so can their public defenders, although usually less so. It is an imperfect system, run by imperfect people, and as a result you get imperfect results.

Part of that imperfection is the fact that "free will" depends on having full knowledge and understanding of the situation before making a decision, and that knowledge and understanding will be, as a rule, imperfect because it comes from an imperfect source. Therefore, I submit that it is not "free will" but an imperfect choice made under imperfect conditions, usually between the lesser of two evils, and especially when plea bargains are involved. The people who give the defendant that choice are the ones in control, not the defendant, and it is they who profit from whatever decision is made by that defendant.

All he can do is either lose, or lose more.
 
2012-06-09 08:11:10 PM  
Hurray for indentured servitude!!!! Where would capitalism be without it?
 
2012-06-09 08:26:58 PM  

DrewCurtisJr: Smackledorfer: So ya, call it volunteer or slave labor. Don't call it a job done for money.

There are other benefits to working besides money. When these guys get out they will need to find a job, not any easy task for an ex-con. Everyone knows farm labor is hard work, if they can land a job in farming and establish a work history it may help them find something better.


Two problems: those hiring for below minimum wage seem unlikely to jump at the chance to stop using convicts and switch to excons. Also, we aren't talking about folks leaving prison with a tradeskill. It's picking onions.
 
2012-06-09 08:29:07 PM  

rewind2846: Smackledorfer:
You realize that your firsthand knowledge is as secondhand to the rest of fark as his secondhand knowledge, right?

Why should I believe a stranger any more than a strangers brother.

I have no idea. That's or you to decide. Since my experience with the judicial system is only as a juror, I defer to someone who has been in and around said system for most of his working life. If he wanted to know how to use photoshop, he would come to me, as I've been using it since version 3.0.

If you want to believe in that tv world where every public defender has nothing but their clients' best interest in mind at all times and can work tirelessly to get that client the very best information they can, as well as have that client understand the full ramifications of any decision they make based on that information... well, have I got a bridge for you. Special price too.

Out here in the real world, defendants can be stupid, and they can be ignorant (lack of knowledge). They can be apathetic, and they can be pants-wetting scared. They can be evil, and they can be bugf*ck insane. And so can their public defenders, although usually less so. It is an imperfect system, run by imperfect people, and as a result you get imperfect results.

Part of that imperfection is the fact that "free will" depends on having full knowledge and understanding of the situation before making a decision, and that knowledge and understanding will be, as a rule, imperfect because it comes from an imperfect source. Therefore, I submit that it is not "free will" but an imperfect choice made under imperfect conditions, usually between the lesser of two evils, and especially when plea bargains are involved. The people who give the defendant that choice are the ones in control, not the defendant, and it is they who profit from whatever decision is made by that defendant.

All he can do is either lose, or lose more.


Twos problems: those hiring for below minimum wage seem unlikely to jump at the chance to stop using convicts and switch to excons. Also, we aren't talking about folks leaving prison with a tradeskill. It's picking onions.
 
2012-06-09 08:32:24 PM  
Wow, my cellphone farked that reply up good.

Rewind: my point was to nabb, who appealed to his own anecdotes yet dismisses yours for their secondhand nature.
 
2012-06-09 09:06:27 PM  
Ooooh slave labor. Very nice. Are there (whip)crackers to keep the slaves in line?
 
2012-06-09 09:18:47 PM  
"Let's see here...ah yes, 25 years for possession of marijuana on Federal property. You'll be working off your debt in the fields for quite some time....get in line, son."
 
2012-06-09 09:19:10 PM  

Smackledorfer: Two problems: those hiring for below minimum wage seem unlikely to jump at the chance to stop using convicts and switch to excons. Also, we aren't talking about folks leaving prison with a tradeskill. It's picking onions.


It's not like convicts can fill the entire labor force. If would certainly be in favor of capping the % of convict labor any farmer could use.

There are many entry level jobs that don't require any skill but employers will still want to know if they hire someone they will last more than a week.

I was briefly in charge of hiring for our warehouse due to a merger. It was a good economy and getting workers to fill the 2nd and 3rd shifts wasn't easy, we had to reach out to just about anyone including ex-cons. I would get the same "I just need a chance, I want to change" spiel all the time but when it was time to show up to work all I got was excuses. Show me that you can do hard work, show me that you can come to work, give a good reference. If you can show up to pick onions in the heat all day I know you probably work out. There actually was opportunity for advancement and you could make a decent living after a few years.
 
2012-06-09 09:28:12 PM  

kidsizedcoffin: As long as they are getting paid at least minimum wage, and it is voluntary, I don't have a big problem with this. On the other hand, if they don't have a choice, and they are making below minimum wage, it is just helping to drive down wages in general.


I imagine they would have to volunteer for the job, but Georgia inmates are not paid for their work.

One county had even wanted to use them to fight fires. Not sure if this ever panned out. Link

It's one thing to train inmates for useful job skills like computer work and have them work inside the prison for free. but having them do back-breaking labor and potentially life-threatening work for free is pretty farked up. The ones in prison for the most heinous crimes wouldn't even qualify for this kind of outside work, as as it's already been mentioned. nor will picking onions or fighting fires will lead to permanent employment once they leave prison. This is just another scummy way for our state Republicans to pretend they're saving money and make it look like they're doing something useful.

If this state actually wanted to save money, they could do a lot more by decriminalizing simple drug possession and making it a non-jail-able offense and getting actual addicts into rehab instead of prison.
 
2012-06-09 10:23:02 PM  

DarkVader: Picking those onions would probably cost those farmers $20 - $50 per worker hour if they had to hire workers to pick them. It's hard work, people don't want to do it, but offered enough money they will take the work. That labor cost would add slightly (but only slightly) to the grocery price of the onions.


It's important to keep in mind that grocery stores participate in the free market economy, as well. That's why you see so much produce from Latin America, even though the same fruits and vegetables are often also grown in the USA.

Googling the rate of onion harvesting just led me to FarmVille pages, so I'm using my own estimates. Feel free to correct me.

Let's say a farm worker can harvest 100 lbs. of onions per hour.

At $10 an hour, that's $0.10 / lb. in labor costs.

At $30 an hour (the median of your spread), that's $0.30 / lb. in labor costs.

So now, unless the farmer (who works on low margins) compresses their own margins, that's $0.20 per pound added to the wholesale cost of onions -- which sell at grocery stores for perhaps a buck a pound when bought by the bag.

You're the buyer for a grocery store chain. The price of onions from your supplier has gone up by $0.20 per pound.

Being a participant in the free market, what do you do?

1. Shut up and pay the higher price,
2. Give your business to another farmer who's not paying his workers so much, or
3. Start buying your onions from Brazil or Mexico?

The followup question:

Why do so many farmers make use of illegal labor?

1. So they can enjoy a lavish lifestyle which regularly includes rolling around in money
2. Because the Latin Americans bring such flavor to the farm. At night, there are tortillas! And dancing around hats! And also tequila!
3. Because farming is a tough, competitive industry, and you must do everything you can to keep costs down and offer a competitive price.
 
2012-06-09 10:28:50 PM  

kidsizedcoffin: As long as they are getting paid at least minimum wage, and it is voluntary, I don't have a big problem with this. On the other hand, if they don't have a choice, and they are making below minimum wage, it is just helping to drive down wages in general.


The great majority of the $$ is going to the state, the inmates "earn" essentially 30 cents per hour (after deducting "the cost of their incarceration").

It's a financial scam that's even worse than sharecropping was, and not much better than chattel slavery was.
 
2012-06-09 10:48:06 PM  

Riche: I think locking any person up against their will SHOULD cost the state "a ton" of money. We already have WAY too many in prison today. Making it cheaper (or even profitable) for the state to imprison even more people is a recipe for making this American disaster even worse still.

Do you really want America to become a literal prison state?


You would like Flint. A city without a jail. You get caught in the act b&e and you are not arrested only given a ticket to appear. Later a warrent will be issued and no one comes to take you to jail. I know that because I have witnessed this first hand a couple of days ago. From the news, I learned we have well over 50,000 unserved arrest warrents and no homicide arrest since Feb. I assure you we still have murders and shootings are up and no arrest for a few months. I guess this would be your town.

Meanwhile our streets are crumbling and are parks are nothing more than a story of where kids used to play. I would like to see a money strapped city be able to make some repairs by both using inmates doing the work and earning the money so the repairs can be made. They should repair the parks, since they like to shoot at each other in parks. Also, I had mentioned earlier, negotiate some time off for labor performed would motivate the inmate and reduce prison population.
 
2012-06-09 10:51:14 PM  

DrewCurtisJr: Smackledorfer: Two problems: those hiring for below minimum wage seem unlikely to jump at the chance to stop using convicts and switch to excons. Also, we aren't talking about folks leaving prison with a tradeskill. It's picking onions.

It's not like convicts can fill the entire labor force. If would certainly be in favor of capping the % of convict labor any farmer could use.

There are many entry level jobs that don't require any skill but employers will still want to know if they hire someone they will last more than a week.

I was briefly in charge of hiring for our warehouse due to a merger. It was a good economy and getting workers to fill the 2nd and 3rd shifts wasn't easy, we had to reach out to just about anyone including ex-cons. I would get the same "I just need a chance, I want to change" spiel all the time but when it was time to show up to work all I got was excuses. Show me that you can do hard work, show me that you can come to work, give a good reference. If you can show up to pick onions in the heat all day I know you probably work out. There actually was opportunity for advancement and you could make a decent living after a few years.


Anyone will show up and work if he has the help of armed guards kicking him out of bed, herding him onto a bus, and standing over him all day. Probationers don't have that help, and TFA says they didn't work long in the onion fields.
 
2012-06-09 11:16:16 PM  

BarkingUnicorn: Probationers don't have that help, and TFA says they didn't work long in the onion fields.


FTA: "They've worked out real good," he said. "Some of them even said when they get out, they may come back and work for me, you know maybe next year. They have really worked out good."

When they get out they work for the farmer, no armed guards.
 
2012-06-09 11:35:28 PM  

lack of warmth: Riche: I think locking any person up against their will SHOULD cost the state "a ton" of money. We already have WAY too many in prison today. Making it cheaper (or even profitable) for the state to imprison even more people is a recipe for making this American disaster even worse still.

Do you really want America to become a literal prison state?

You would like Flint. A city without a jail. You get caught in the act b&e and you are not arrested only given a ticket to appear. Later a warrent will be issued and no one comes to take you to jail. I know that because I have witnessed this first hand a couple of days ago. From the news, I learned we have well over 50,000 unserved arrest warrents and no homicide arrest since Feb. I assure you we still have murders and shootings are up and no arrest for a few months. I guess this would be your town.

Meanwhile our streets are crumbling and are parks are nothing more than a story of where kids used to play. I would like to see a money strapped city be able to make some repairs by both using inmates doing the work and earning the money so the repairs can be made. They should repair the parks, since they like to shoot at each other in parks. Also, I had mentioned earlier, negotiate some time off for labor performed would motivate the inmate and reduce prison population.




Wow, Flint is pretty farked up. It must suck to live there. Why don't you move?

As for your response to my post, you seem to have a serious problem with reading comprehension. Nowhere did I suggest anarchy.

Taking away a person's freedom needs to be strictly limited to those that need it. One of the better ways to ensure this is to make it expensive to do, and paid for by the taxpayer. If your city is too broke to do the very basic service of public saftey then it is a true "failed government" and the state or Feds should have to either help pay or take over.
 
2012-06-09 11:36:49 PM  

Corporate Self: THIS IS NOT A GOOD IDEA

If prisoners become a profit center then judges will be pressured to send everyone to prison. Money hungry legislators will more pass laws with mandatory long-term sentences for trivial crimes.


Exactly. This is one reason why selling prison labor to private businesses is either illegal or very heavily-regulated in a lot of states. It's also a way to kill off low-paying jobs by replacing them with ultra-cheap prison labor. And when the prison claims the money "pays for the upkeep" of the prisoners, they don't mean the prisoners are getting any sort of compensation for their work. That money goes right to the prison system itself and might end up paying for a new flower bed in front of the warden's house.
 
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