ONLINE Inmates make a difference?

Timothy Fisher, Staff Writer

Inmates from the Luzerne County Correctional Facility helped clean up flood damage from the September flooding. The inmates got paid for their efforts by the Correctional Facility.

I agree one hundred percent with the payment merited to the inmates. Why? There was a mess that clearly needed to be cleaned up, and the inmates stepped up to the plate to help out. Cleaning up trash, mud and debris is not easy.

The September flooding left behind such a lingering stench that resulted from the mud and debris. I personally have a great deal of respect for anyone who had to work in those conditions for long periods of time. The inmates from the Luzerne County Correctional Facility are no exception to that rule. Honest pay should be given to those who conduct honest work.

Controller Walter L. Griffith Jr. was the only one of six board members from the Luzerne Facility to disagree with the payment. He said that fifty dollars a day to the inmates was too much.

You must  understand that the inmates toiled in mud, muck, and poor respiratory conditions to help the flood-impacted areas recover. I understand that these inmates are not nice people. They committed crimes, and are doing time for those crimes.

However, these inmates have done a service to the community in which they helped clean up, which cannot be said by all the members of the affected communities. The topic of prisoner labor projects yields mixed results from the community.

Some people see the work as beneficial, and that further projects would continue to make the communities around correctional facilities better.

Why not utilize that labor force instead of letting them just sit around? Yet, there are those who have seen the movie The Shawshank Redemption, in which prison labor can compete with local businesses and possibly put them out of business.

I feel that the current program that allows inmates from places like the Luzerne County Correctional Facility is doing a good job. While helping within the local community does not guarantee “brownie points” for the inmates, it does allow them to get out of the monotony of the prison lifestyle and make a difference. We should learn from this case, where Luzerne county inmates want to help clean up the community.

I don’t know what will inspire others in the future to help out in their communities. Perhaps there might be a stronger need to aid disaster victims, to help those less fortunate.

Maybe later on down the road, it will be a better time to make a difference. I hope that prison work plans are continually allowed during those times. I hope that residents in the future take pride in where they live, so that they volunteer more often.

If a prisoner can get off of his or her criminal butt and pick up some trash, why can’t you? Are you really that busy?