Response Essay: importance of the work done by inmates


How meaningful should inmate work be?
This paper seeks to find out about the importance of the work done by inmates.There is a need to know the reason as why inmates in prisons, need to be busy at all times. Their efforts should ensure that they are able to become skilled, in certain areas and professions. The extent to which the vocational training is provided should be known. The prison inmates should be able to find work opportunities, which will enable them to earn a living, once they finish serving their terms (Pollack, 2006).
Analysis of the importance work done by inmates
Inmates, who are medically fit, are the ones who are required to work. The inmates work in institutions such as warehouses and the food service sector. They are able to earn a source of income from the work that they do. It is estimated that 16% of inmates have been granted permission to work in prisons run by the state. They are able to gain skills which are marketable in areas such as textiles, grounds keeping and many others. They normally earn reasonable amounts of money, which they can save or send to their families back at home. Some of the work done by the inmates requires them to have some form of educational level, such as a high school diploma (Pollack, 2006). Their level of education will determine the work that can be done by them .The populations in prisons all over the United States is increasing everyday, which is an added cost to the existing justice system. Many economists believe there is a need to educate inmates who are around 2 million, to work in the American labor market. Since most of the inmates are able and young, they should be provided with essential skills. Inmates as many as 127000, in federal prisons are working under a program sponsored by the government. At the same time as many as 1.1 million inmates, have found jobs as a result of the programs (Pollack, 2006) .
According to a Harvard economy professor, there is a need to increase the American work force, due to the many shortages. Most of the work done by inmates is considered as being household related. Most of the products produced by the American government are done by inmates, through an agency that is responsible for this program. There is a need to keep the in mates busy, to ensure that once they are realized, they do not commit more crimes. It is estimated that last year, a total of 600 Million dollars was made, as a result of the work done by inmates (Colvin, 2010). An American republican, Mr. McCollum came up with a bill, which ensured that the federal government played a more important role, to ensure that the inmates could work and provide their services to businesses that were privately run. A lot is being done to ensure that bill is passed by congress for the benefit of the inmates.
There is a need to choose inmates who have the potential of being rehabilitated through the vocational training. This will in turn help the inmates improve, in terms of self esteem and being disciplined. The inmates should be involved in producing products, which are not a threat to the existing American industries. In mates will be beneficial in creating the balance of trade, needed to improve the American economy (Colvin, 2010) .
In conclusion in mates need to be provided with skills, which will be useful once they are free. The work done by inmates while in prison helps them become busy and good citizens. They should be given work that suites them and will not make them engage in crime.
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How meaningful should inmate work be?
Inmates work inside prisons mostly for things that keep the prison up and running. This includes “laundry, maintenance, cooking and other tasks for the prison in which they are confined — often for little or no pay” (McKermott, 1999). These are like normal chores that keep the inmates busy and productive. However, these chores usually do not have meaning to inmates. More often than not, they see these kinds of prison work as forced work, and that they have no choice but to do this. How meaningful should inmate work be? It should be meaningful enough to produce positive effects and benefits both for the prisoners and the prison staff.
These tasks do not have meaning to them. The words “little or no pay” is a key statement here. These chores do not allow prisoners to earn while working to make the tasks meaningful to them. Slaves work forcefully and they do not get paid for it. These tasks are just given to them to keep themselves busy but do not serve a purpose. With the history of slavery in the country, nobody ever wants to feel like slaves. These people are citizens of the country and they have the right to be treated with respect inside prison cells. If they are not earning money from the work that they are doing, then the prisoners would feel like slaves. They are degraded and they do not feel a part of the society. They will feel used and this will increase the loneliness, self-pity, hopelessness, and degradation that inmates are prone to feeling.
In my opinion, prison work should be meaningful in such a way that prisoners feel needed in the society. This kind of work will make them feel that they are useful and their situation is not hopeless. The only ideal way in making inmates work is to “select inmates for work who are most likely to benefit from the rehabilitative effects of prison labor: discipline, vocational training and self esteem” (McKermott, 1999). Vocational training and work opportunities for prison inmates should be granted completely and extensively to inmates who are showing exemplary behavior. This opportunity must be given to inmates that show exemplary performance inside prison cells. As a reward, they must be given the chance to work meaningfully inside prisons and earn money from that as well. There are a number of states that actually practice this including the Arizona Department of Corrections. They have established “criteria and procedures that ensure the lawful, safe and secure operation of Department and inmate work programs, in accordance with sound correctional practice” (Arizona Department of Corrections, 2010). This is a good step towards making inmate work meaningful. As more and more states practice this, the better inmate work will be.
By doing this, inmate work will serve two purposes. It will provide a way for inmates to lead a better life while serving their time and it will also help motivate prisoners to behave well inside prisons. Come think of it, this might help a lot in terms of controlling behavior inside prisons as only good prisoners will have the opportunity to work meaningfully and earn money.
I believe that inmate work should be meaningful enough to give the inmates an opportunity to change their lives for the better. It must necessarily invoke increase in discipline, an opportunity to gain vocational training that they can use when they get out of prison, and an increase in their self-worth and self-esteem.
To conclude, inmates should not just be kept busy. Inmate work must necessarily have a purpose. Efforts should be aimed at some specific purpose; and that is to help improve the situation inside prison cells. .

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