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U.S. farmers use inmates to harvest fields
UPI ^ | 08/22/07

Posted on 08/22/2007 4:37:51 PM PDT by nypokerface

PICACHO, Ariz., Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Western U.S. farmers are increasingly using inmates to harvest their fields as states crack down on hiring undocumented workers.

Colorado started sending female inmates to harvest onions, corn and melons this summer, and Iowa is considering a similar program, The Christian Science Monitor reported.

While inmates have worked for private farms in Arizona for almost 20 years, legislation signed this summer fining employers for knowingly hiring undocumented workers has brought growing numbers of farmers to the Arizona Department of Corrections for help, the newspaper said.

Unlike other sectors, where federal regulations require inmate workers be paid a prevailing wage and receive workers' compensation, agricultural companies can hire state inmates on a contract basis, the Monitor said.

The workers must get at least $2 an hour. Thirty percent of their wages go to prison room and board, with the rest going to court-ordered restitution for victims, any child support and a mandatory savings account.

The farms pay for transportation from the prison to the work site and for prison guards.

While farmers like the idea, the United Farm Workers of America says inmate labor undermines unionized labor.

"It's rather insulting that (Arizona) would look so poorly on farm workers that they would attempt to use inmates (to perform the work)," spokesman Marc Grossman says.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; US: Arizona; US: Colorado
KEYWORDS: agriculture; inmates; labor; melons

1 posted on 08/22/2007 4:37:52 PM PDT by nypokerface
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To: nypokerface

The Horror!


2 posted on 08/22/2007 4:39:35 PM PDT by TexasCajun
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To: nypokerface

Just doing the harvesting that illegal aliens won’t do...


3 posted on 08/22/2007 4:40:05 PM PDT by Triggerhippie (Always use a silencer in a crowd. Loud noises offend people.)
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To: nypokerface
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Some inmates are easily distracted from their toils.
4 posted on 08/22/2007 4:42:35 PM PDT by racnpartsales4u ("His sex organs took the heaviest blow," an unidentified nurse told the newspaper.)
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To: nypokerface

I like it. China does the same thing.


5 posted on 08/22/2007 4:42:48 PM PDT by Doe Eyes
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To: nypokerface
Hmm... I do not see much of a difference.

Inmates are people who are incarcerated by the government because of crimes they have committed.

Illegal alien workers are people who should be *deported* by the government because of crimes they have committed (laws against illegal entry).

6 posted on 08/22/2007 4:43:14 PM PDT by Frohickey
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To: nypokerface

Good. Better than lifting weights and watching television all day.
I would like to see them picking all the trash off the highways. And the really bad dudes should be scrubbing public toilets with a toothbrush.


7 posted on 08/22/2007 4:43:43 PM PDT by BigFinn (It doesn't take a 5th grader to build the Fence.)
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To: nypokerface

I grew up in the area around southern Michigan prison and the prison used to use inmate labor to grow their own crops. I was only about 6 years old and I had an old .410 single shot (disabled). I used to take that out and “help” guard the cons as they worked on the other side of a single strand of barbed wire.


8 posted on 08/22/2007 4:44:20 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Greed is NOT a conservative ideal.)
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To: nypokerface

And if there still aren’t enough workers to bring in the crops, they can just arrest more!

I don’t like hiring out prison labor to private business. It muddies the waters and creates a conflict of interest.


9 posted on 08/22/2007 4:44:54 PM PDT by ReignOfError
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To: Doe Eyes
So I guess the price of food will be going way down....

Yeah, sure.

10 posted on 08/22/2007 4:45:38 PM PDT by dragnet2
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To: ReignOfError
I don’t like hiring out prison labor to private business.

Well if the people working the fields requested to be on the detail what is the problem with it?

I think the experience of an honest day of work would be good for them. Maybe a nice meal beyond the crap they normally get in prison for a hard days work?

11 posted on 08/22/2007 4:52:58 PM PDT by steveo (Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.)
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To: dragnet2

Pelosi, Reid, and their Liberal moronic cohorts will be squealing like stuck pigs! It’s unheard of in DC to actually solve America’s problems. Congress ignores the American people while these worthless politicians suck up more power and feed their sick egos.


12 posted on 08/22/2007 4:54:23 PM PDT by ExTexasRedhead
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To: ReignOfError

“And if there still aren’t enough workers to bring in the crops, they can just arrest more!

Well, don’t arrest any criminals. They are lazy and don’t do a very good job. Surely, we can get better convicts than that.


13 posted on 08/22/2007 4:55:51 PM PDT by proxy_user
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To: ExTexasRedhead

So does that mean food prices go down?


14 posted on 08/22/2007 4:57:03 PM PDT by dragnet2
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To: nypokerface
While farmers like the idea, the United Farm Workers of America says inmate labor undermines unionized labor.

And where has this dip-stick been while all the illegals were pouring into the fields, the restaurants, the you name it...

Well, I guess there goes that "jobs Americans won't do" arguement, shot to hell.

15 posted on 08/22/2007 5:01:00 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: nypokerface

Just following the trail laid down by Scarlett in Gone with the Wind.


16 posted on 08/22/2007 5:04:31 PM PDT by PAR35
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To: racnpartsales4u

"She ain't got nothin' but, nothin' but one safety pin holdin' that thing on. Come on safety pin, POP. Come on baby, POP!

17 posted on 08/22/2007 5:10:36 PM PDT by Recovering Hermit (There's another old saying Senator..."Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining.")
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To: nypokerface
"It's rather insulting that (Arizona) would look so poorly on farm workers that they would attempt to use inmates (to perform the work)," spokesman Marc Grossman says.

It's stupendously insulting that Mr. Grossman and his ilk look so poorly on the U.S.A. that they would prefer to import illegal aliens to perform work that might actually do prison inmates, not to mention the rest of the country, some good.

18 posted on 08/22/2007 5:12:33 PM PDT by Tenniel2 (The heroes of Flight 93 diverted the wrong plane.)
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To: steveo
How is the private labor force supposed to compete with a state-owned labor pool with no living expenses that is exempt from minimum wage laws?

The prisoners doing this have a choice.. the other choice is being locked in a cage the size of your bathroom for 23 hours a day. Of course they'll do it, they'd do it for free - which the 40 or 50 cents an hour they actually pocket essentially is.

19 posted on 08/22/2007 5:15:06 PM PDT by CGTRWK
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To: nypokerface

OK, let’s use welfare recipients.


20 posted on 08/22/2007 5:17:18 PM PDT by cinives (On some planets what I do is considered normal.)
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To: Recovering Hermit

LOL much better than the one I drug up!


21 posted on 08/22/2007 5:19:50 PM PDT by racnpartsales4u ("His sex organs took the heaviest blow," an unidentified nurse told the newspaper.)
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To: TexasCajun
"U.S. farmers use inmates to harvest fields'

All right. Let's start the 'Organ' Harvest next...

22 posted on 08/22/2007 5:26:38 PM PDT by Dacus943
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To: steveo
>>I don’t like hiring out prison labor to private business.

Well if the people working the fields requested to be on the detail what is the problem with it?

It effectively puts slave labor into competition with free labor, distorting market forces. It creates a pool of sub-minimum-wage workers that politicians can use to reward cronies. It distracts prisons from their core functions of protecting the public and rehabilitating offenders. It creates an incentive for prisons to hold on to the most profitable inmates, not the most dangerous.

The history of prison labor for hire is not a pretty one. From Dickensian debtors' workhouses to leased black work crews in the post-bellm South, it is a system that invites abuse. It is not a camel's nose that I want to let into the tent.

I have no problem with work as a condition of incarceration -- the state has plenty of jobs that need doing. Georgia is second, I'm told, after Texas in its use of prison labor -- they perform landscaping and maintenance at state parks, make and bottle cleaning products for use in state offices, build and repair furniture for state offices, and of course perform the classic duties like picking up litter on the highway and stamping out license tags. Running printing presses for state printing jobs. Tasks that both benefit the state and give them skills for when they get out.

When my dad worked at the prison in Buford, GA, there was one good ol' boy who took the work crews out each morning. They weren't chain gangs in the sense that they weren't chained to each other, but otherwise it's pretty much the same vibe. This' good ol' boy had the same routine day after day, with little variation.

"Men," he would say to the prisoners lined up alongside the reinforced school bus, "The state tells me if one of y'all tries to run, I am expected to fire a warning shot."

Shoosh-BLAM! as he racked his 12-gauge and fired it in the air.

"That was your warning shot. Get on the bus."

23 posted on 08/22/2007 5:26:53 PM PDT by ReignOfError
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To: Doe Eyes
I like it. China does the same thing.

Personally, I would like to see the city of Detroit utilize chain gangs to clean up the neglected areas of the city. I think the reason they don't is due to a union thing.........

24 posted on 08/22/2007 5:30:42 PM PDT by Hot Tabasco (Farewell Turd Blossom, ya done good!)
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To: Recovering Hermit

“She has no idea what she’s doing”

“She knows exactly what she’s doing.”

A wise friend of mine dubbed Cool Hand Luke the sweatiest movie ever made. Can’t argue. A distant second is A Time to Kill, which gets points for sweaty Ashley Judd. After that, Apocalypse Now, I guess. Brando certainly sweats enough for ten men.


25 posted on 08/22/2007 5:33:03 PM PDT by ReignOfError
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To: proxy_user
Well, don’t arrest any criminals. They are lazy and don’t do a very good job. Surely, we can get better convicts than that.

"What we need is a better class of inmate."
-- Huey Long

26 posted on 08/22/2007 5:37:14 PM PDT by ReignOfError
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To: dragnet2

Call your Congressional traitor and ask.


27 posted on 08/22/2007 5:53:25 PM PDT by ExTexasRedhead
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To: nypokerface
While farmers like the idea, the United Farm Workers of America says inmate labor undermines unionized labor.

And Illegal Immigrant labor doesn’t undermine unionized labor? Does the UFW represent illegals?

28 posted on 08/22/2007 5:57:01 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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To: ExTexasRedhead

Good idea. I’ll use that toll free # that was setup for all the illegals during shamnesty.


29 posted on 08/22/2007 5:57:18 PM PDT by dragnet2
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To: nypokerface
That’s not possible. The illegals only do work that Americans won’t do...prisoners or not. I’ve seen other FReepers say that the work won’t get done if we don’t have illegals doing it.

This story is a complete lie. ;)

30 posted on 08/22/2007 8:52:51 PM PDT by RavenATB
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To: nypokerface

Wait! I wonder if the prisoners are illegals...


31 posted on 08/22/2007 8:53:53 PM PDT by RavenATB
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To: nypokerface
What a concept.

Now if they would just pay farmers to harvest ILLEGALS we might have something.

32 posted on 08/22/2007 8:57:29 PM PDT by unixfox (The 13th Amendment Abolished Slavery, The 16th Amendment Reinstated It !)
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To: cinives

ok by me. Welfare recipiens work program... at least they’d be earning their keep a bit.


33 posted on 08/22/2007 9:01:39 PM PDT by television is just wrong (deport all illegal aliens NOW. Put all AMERICANS TO WORK FIRST. END WELFARE.)
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To: nypokerface

Wonder how many inmates that are working the farms are also illegal aliens serving a sentence for crimes committed while here in the US as an illegal alien. Even one would be some kind of poetic justice, wouldn’t it?


34 posted on 08/22/2007 9:05:52 PM PDT by just mimi
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To: nypokerface
Western U.S. farmers are increasingly using inmates to harvest their fields as states crack down on hiring undocumented workers.

Say no more. Better to use American criminals than foreign criminals. So what's the damn beef?

35 posted on 08/22/2007 9:09:13 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: Grizzled Bear
And Illegal Immigrant labor doesn’t undermine unionized labor? Does the UFW represent illegals?

Yes. UFW is the union founded by Caesar Chavez, the group that had liberals boycotting grapes through the '70s and '80s.

36 posted on 08/23/2007 3:50:45 AM PDT by ReignOfError
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To: nypokerface

The Arizona State Prison at one time was almost entirely self-sustaining. They grew their own beef, vegetables, wheat and cotton. They made their own furniture and anything else that was needed on a regular basis. It was local businesses which insisted that the practice stop. They were missing out on the lucrative contracts for supplying the inmates.


37 posted on 08/23/2007 4:10:19 AM PDT by MARTIAL MONK
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