Letters to the Editor

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PRISON: Don’t outsource inmates’ work

Letter by C.M. Brown, Forks on March 1, 2012 at 5:28 pm | 6 Comments »
March 1, 2012 5:29 pm

Re: “Inmates set to lose work as uniform bill advances in Olympia” (TNT, 2-29).

House Bill 2346 has to do with prison inmates making corrections officers’ uniforms. It began by the officers’ union asserting that the clothing was substandard and ended with the rationale that having inmates make officer or prison employee clothing is a conflict of interest.

Comments attributed to officers were that making clothing was not a realistic activity to prepare inmates to the working in society, and instead we should fund post-secondary education opportunities.

Years ago, post-secondary degrees in prison were stopped as they were funded by the taxpayers who could not afford to send their own to college. To renew that program seems unwise. The discipline of  getting up, going to work, being productive – these are the work skills learned in prison employment.

What happened to the budgetary crisis? Inmate-made items will be now outsourced. I can hardly fathom such support in Olympia.

I have heard that legislators “found the money “ to fund this. There is money to be found? I believe it would be far more prudent to restore the 3 percent wage reduction – if there is money lying around  — rather than have the taxpayers fund such a wasteful project.

Taxpayers work hard to manage household budgets. We expect our representative to do the same.

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