Prison labor hot topic at local meeting

By Natalie Fultz

COLUMBUS – You've probably seen them when you're driving around…the big white trucks that house Muscogee County inmates .They work throughout our city cleaning buildings, picking up trash. But for many, they see this as a problem. They believe these jobs could go to the unemployed and poverty stricken.

“Most communities finance their public works other than using prison labor,” Richard Jessie says.

According to the Muscogee County Prison website, 425 inmates work outside. This saves the local government $10.2 million dollars annually.

According to Enrichment Services, around 35,000 people in Muscogee County are in poverty. Jessie says outsourcing these jobs would make a difference.

“You'll see families being put back together, you'll see people who have given up hope, you'll see them having hope because they can take care of their families,” Jessie says.

If these jobs were open to the public, tax payers would be footing the bill.

“The love of money is the root of all evil. Just because something saves you money doesn't make it right. This system is evil and corrupt,” Jessie says.

Supporters say while prison labor is intact in Muscogee County, these prisoners are gaining first hand work experience as they get prepared for life on the outside.

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