March 04, 2007
Picking Up Melons and Job Skills

Sometimes you just feel like crying. For instance when you come across this not in the Xinhua News Agency, but in the New York Times:

In a pilot program run by the state Corrections Department, supervised teams of low-risk inmates beginning this month will be available to harvest the swaths of sweet corn, peppers and melons that sweep the southeastern portion of the state …

“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.”

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,” Mr. Zavaras said.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at March 04, 2007 06:40 PM
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