The productive. Second, by working they are

The discussion over prison labor has existed as long as the concept itself. Opponents claim that it prisoners, takes away jobs from the general population, and puts people in danger by allowing convicts access to their personal information. While supporters of prison labor argue that it helps the economy as well as benefits prisoners. On this issue I stand on the side of the supporters. By having prisoners work we are accomplishing several beneficial things. First, work keeps them occupied and out of trouble, instead of getting into confrontations with other inmates, they are actually doing something productive. Second, by working they are alleviating some of the high costs of keeping them incarcerated, thus reducing the amount the government has to spend for this purpose. And third, the opponent’s argument that prison labor puts the general population in danger is not a valid one since most perpetrators of identity fraud are not convicts, but regular people with no past criminal record. Even with these positive factors, still there is room for improvement in the institution of prison labor.Prisoners have a lot of free time on their hands, some of which is spent getting into confrontations with other inmates or making weapons, both of these activities can exacerbate their sentence. So by having them work we are keeping them out of trouble by giving then something positive to do while allowing them to learn skills that will aid them in getting a job after they are released. One of the main problems that we are facing is that a large percentage of former inmates return to prison. “Many prisoners want to work…inmates who work are less likely to commit crimes when they are released.” Thus, by working they will be able to use skills acquired through prison labor and apply them in the real world and reducing their chances of coming back to prison. It has been found that “when fully-trained…inmate workers leave prison, they carry with them credentials of achievement in job skills that meet requirements of today’s business.” In addition, the money that they earn carries several benefits; it can be used to buy daily amenities which will make their life in prison a little more pleasurable, they can also save money that will be extremely useful when they are released. Thus, not only are prisoners kept out of trouble by working, the money they earn benefits them in the present, as it will in the future and eases the burden on society that comes with housing prison inmates.The ideal purpose of incarceration is to have the guilty pay for their crimes and at the same time correct their criminal behavior. However the reality is very far from the ideal, inmates literally rot in jail until they are released just to return soon after and keep the never ending cycle going. So one useful way inmates can pay their debt to society is by prison labor. When inmates are working a percentage of their wages is withheld and that money goes to house inmates and run prisons, thus relieving the economic burden of the government and taxpayers. Since these people committed the crimes, there is no reason why the entire society should support them. Having inmates contribute to the costs, especially when it benefits the prisoners as well is a great way to reduce spending on prisons and use the money for something else. The fact is that “in addition to reduced incarceration costs, potential benefits include restitution to victims and the opportunity to provide family support while still in prison.” I am fully aware of the fact that most prison laborers are paid less than minimum wage, but what we must remember is that they are criminals. I am not suggesting that they should be exploited in every way possible, but when a person turns to the life of crime they providing them with exactly the same rights as those who do not commit crime will not be fair. Therefore with prison labor inmates have the opportunity to literally pay their debt to society by compensation for some of the high prison costs, save money for themselves, as well as learn valuable skills which may keep them out of prison. A popular argument used by opponents to prison labor is that it poses a threat to the general population. Many positions that prison laborers hold give them access to regular people’s personal information including credit card and social security numbers. And their concern is that a convicted felon will use this information for his or her own purpose. This argument has several pitfalls. Assuming that an inmate does use someone’s credit card, the truth will eventually come out, it will be traced to the inmate, and since identity fraud is a crime, this individual will be adding time to his or her existing prison term which is a no win situation for the inmate. The other factor is that very often identity fraud is committed by regular people or trustworthy employees with no past criminal record. A perfect example will be a few of my own former co-workers who were caught using client’s credit cards as well as stealing money. There is no way of knowing what a person may do. Plus assuming that an inmate cannot be reformed is what forces some of them back to prisons since the label of an ex con prevents them from getting jobs that will enable them to support themselves.

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