Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Prison Industries

Perhaps it is the magic itself when you visit Disney World that inspires ideas like this one but while touring the butterfly garden at Epcot Center today in Orlando, Florida my mind wandered to thinking about our prisoner population. Prisoners were on my mind I guess because today's USA Today - which I read on the bus to Epcot - had a "Snapshot" graph that noted nearly 18% of the USA's prison population earn their GED (high school equivalent certification) while serving time.

The idea -- why doesn't the USA's prison industries system (which historically has made furniture, clothing, etc.) add butterfly farms to their operations? Yes butterfly farms. I toured a butterfly farm for the first time in 1997 as a student in Costa Rica. As it turns out the life expectancy of most butterflies is about 30 days so various institutions like science museums, zoos, etc. need a constant supply of butterflies which creates the demand. Here are several reasons I thought adding butterfly farms to the prison industries program would be a good idea:

  • Such a profession would help pacify prisoners -- if you don't believe it just take a tour of such a farm and talk to the workers
  • Butterfly farms require very little in terms of tools like building furniture does thus reducing the chance that prisoners will steal equipment or build their own weapons
  • Having more butterflies is good for the world's environment since they play an important role in the pollination of plants
  • Ideally it would help some prisoners develop a better sense of the value and balance of life in the world

Call me crazy if you want but with prison populations and expenses constantly increasing in the USA it is time to debate some creative ideas such as this one.

Sheriff Todd


jdsqrd said...

Or teach them beekeeping to help replenish the bee population. The occasional sting would remind them they are prisoners.

kissmysass said...

This is an awesome idea...

like your blog... you can read mine if you like (albeit not updated very much)!

Todd said...

Dear Kissmysass,

Your blog postings show you are having some personal challenges so may I offer some free advice?

Save whatever money you can and sell everything you own if you have to but get yourself out of that neighborhood!!

If you ever read about "place theory" you will understand the vital need you have to move to a better neighborhood -- surround yourself with a more positive environment.

Hope this website helps you, a friend turned me on to it --

Space Beagle