I’ve volunteered for 15 years in the prison system, and I know many men and women that would rather be working than sitting in prison. I’m proposing putting our offenders to work repairing the roads as they could be paid at a reduced wage while they are training and learning valuable skills. By employing offenders this would: Provide offenders job training and funds to meet their obligations such as paying child support/cost of foster care, savings for when they get out of prison, and paying any fines (restore losses to victims of their crime). Restore funds back into the Idaho Department of Correction’s budget in that offenders could contribute to the cost of their incarceration and defer monies that IDOC currently spends on transition funding. Also, if they prove to be good workers, once they are released from prison, they could be hired on a permanent basis and employers would receive a tax incentive of $9,000 per hire from the Federal government. I know other states have prison road crews so we do have models in place that we can follow. We need to try something different folks, because what we are doing is not working.
Debra Servatius, Meridian