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Making Crime Pay December 12 2003 English 111 Writing II Clarion University of PA David H Dallas author Tough On Taxpayers Lets get tough on crime while a popular theme with politicians and voters alike has spawned an avalanche of mandatory sentencing laws which have led to prison overcrowding and ballooning costs to the taxpayers Over the next five years the federal and state prison population is projected to increase to 16 million The annual maintenance cost of a single prisoner is estimated at 30000 Reynolds 1 Crime Pays In order to defer prison costs politicians have passed legislation which allows businesses to hire convicts Bob Gobin in Prison Labor Makes Sense quotes one legislator who stated Prison is the price for crime We must minimize the price that citizens pay to exclude criminals from society 1 In order to minimize this expense correctional institutions can now subtract the cost of incarceration mandatory savings victims compensation Social Security and Medicare from inmates wages Miller 6 Sen Phil Gramm R-Texas has called for prison labor to pay half the cost of the federal prison system Reese 6 Will It Be Enough This new source of funding could be significant according to Morgan O Reynolds Director of the Criminal Justice Center at the National Center for Policy Analysis NCPA and Texas AM University economics professor If even half of the prisoners could be employed during the next 5 years their work would cut taxpayer costs by almost 9 billion per year or about 25 of the total cost of prison support 1 Will Businesses Go For It Prisons are a resource of inexpensive labor eliminating the need to relocate overseas Lockhart Technologies went from paying non-prisoners 10 an hour to paying prisoners minimum wage plus only 1 a year in rent effectively cutting its costs by half In Oregon a ten-convict work crew may be leased for only 30 a day Miller 4
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