We live about a 1/4 mile from a maximum security prison here in a village in Ontario, Canada. Up until about 10 years ago (when the prison closed) the prisoners were allowed out on supervised gangs doing all sorts of good things here. Seniors had their driveways shoveled when it snowed, the roads and sidewalks were kept spotless, and they helped with Spring cleanups, etc. The usual gang of do-gooders in the provincial government decided their rights were being violated, and stopped it. According to the local guards, the prisoners were mad when it ended. They went out of their way to be on “good behavior” to earn points to get on the work gangs. Another example of the government saving us from ourselves, this time it was convicts.
I remember chain gangs in Texas, it looked like OK work, about like construction labor and ditch digging.