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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Green Prisons?

Peace. At first I was like...privatized jails finding another use to employ their neo-slavery tactics again. Then the more I read the more it seemed like a good idea. Not only is the below idea focused on making some dough there is a profit sharing for the prisoners so that they will have some dough once they get out. Substainable doesn't just mean with the environment. Humans are part of the environment. If you have a society that is set up so that people are being locked away and being a drain on the finances of the society without a way to give back and/or be rehibilitated then that stuff ain't working. The only issue that I see is who is going to implement this? The private prisons want to make all of that dough for theirselves. That's why they don't need to be private! I'm liking the idea though and possibly even as an independent business it can be utilized..hmmm..

Green Prison- Could Prisoners Clean Up Landfills?
My friend John Polnik surfaced this idea during a long car ride we took together the other day. I don't pretend to know if it's workable, but it's intriguing.

"Remember when you realized as a kid that you could collect old aluminum Coors light cans and trade them in for cold hard Star Wars toy buying cash? We learned that clearly there is a market for recyclable material.

Well how about all those landfills across our beautiful country? They're just towering monuments of waste leaching toxins into the ground water and turning the ground into a shade of green we'd rather not see. They need to be cleaned up, right?

On average, what percentage of the material in any given American landfill is recyclable? Under the millions of tons of disposable Huggies, how many pounds of copper wire from old eight track stereos and glass Coca Cola bottles thrown away during the Reagan administration are there to be mined? Well, I'm too lazy to do a googlenet search on the interweb machine to find out, but I'd be willing to bet that it's a lot.

However, it's not enough to make it economically viable for a private entity to hire workers to sift through that mess. I mean, could you imagine the labor cost alone? How much would someone have to pay you to wallow knee deep in old Kleenexes and rotting Chinese take-out? The value of all the collected recyclable material wouldn't be enough to pay any workers (documented or otherwise) to do it.

Where could you possibly find a labor force in America that would be willing to do such an unpleasant but necessary job at a cost that wouldn't break us all?

I did do a world wide Yahoo machine search and found that there are more than two million people currently incarcerated in American prisons, and it's costing us all a lot of tax payer green to keep them there.

Now, don't get carried away. I'm not going to suggest that prisoners be forced as slaves to do this job, but how about the idea of a Green Prison? You set up a temporary facility at a landfill, secure the site, and get people to work mining the "good" dirt. The value of that mined material is then sold and used to pay for everything the Green Prison needs. When all the recyclable material has been removed, and the area is cleaned up in the process, the Green Prison packs up and moves to the next landfill.

It could be like popular work farm prisons that allow low risk detainees to earn a small wage so that when they're released, they actually have some means to support themselves until they can get on their feet. The only difference with the Green Prison is that prisoners aren't competing with private farmers and businesses that have to pay market wages to their employees. A Green Prison competes with no one, takes no jobs away from anyone, costs taxpayers nothing, and cleans up the planet.

The practice of prisoners working for the good of society is already widely accepted. Think about the courageous stump jumpers that help fight terrible forest fires or the prisoners that help during disasters to lay sandbags in floods? Well is there a bigger disaster than the mess we've made with overfilling landfills? The idea of Green Prisons represents an opportunity for prisoners to redeem themselves, and for us as a society to really do something about the waste we produce."

I jacked the above from

Also check out the fact that Alcatraz is going Green

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