Prison Puts Inmates To Work Planning Their Next Robberies

The modern prison system has slowly been finding ways to put inmates to work at jobs that not only benefit society, but also empower the prisoners by expanding their job skills. This better prepares the inmates for the competitive labor market upon their release.

The U.K. is putting prisoners to work on jobs that may make citizens uneasy though. At two jails, HMP Oakwood and Drake Hall women’s jail, inmates have been employed for £20 a week as call center workers. The inmates ask insurance customers for their name and postcode, and then proceed to ask if they have any valuable possessions.

Inmates follow a script, but they only tell homeowners they are calling on behalf of a “market research” contractor. Once they are speaking with the customer, they are instructed to ask, “Would you like to save some money?” Apparently, most customers say yes.

Obviously, some people are pretty upset about this, claiming that it might not be in these customers’ best interests to be unknowingly sharing their address and where they hide their valuables with convicted criminals.

The Centre for Crime Prevention’s Peter Cuthbertson said, “Trusting criminals with people’s financial details is incredibly naive. Burglars will know who to target when they are released.”

The call centers are run by several private firms, and are part of a Ministry of Justice program to get inmates to work. A spokesperson stated that putting prisoners to work contributes to their rehabilitation and reduces the chances that they will be repeat offenders. They go on to say that all of the prisoners working in call centers are risk assessed and that stringent security measures are in place. All calls are supervised and recorded.

California Debuts Pay-To-Stay Prison Program

A prison in California has introduced an alternative to some of the rougher locations in the state. The Fremont Police Detention Facility in Alameda County, located in the San Francisco Bay area, has begun what it calls a Pay-to-Stay program, the first of its kind in the state.

A spokesman claims that the jail provides no special treatment, inmates are still given the same cot, blanket, and food as anyone else in the regular county jail. But this jail is smaller, quieter, and is “away” from the county jail population. So what is essentially being sold here is an opportunity for wealthier inmates to have a lower chance of being beaten to death. The program will cost inmates $155 a night with a $45 one-time fee, a rate comparable to local hotel prices.

Most importantly though, the less rough prison will provide the county with much needed additional revenue. The Fremont jail was constructed in 2002 for $10.6 million, and claims that the new program will help pay for its facility and operations. Each inmate costs the jail $8.35 per day, so if the small jail can house just 16 inmates for 2 nights each week, the city would make an annual net profit of $244,000. The total jail occupancy is 58 beds, but it has had a lot of unused capacity.

The Pay-to-Stay program does not accept all applicants. The convict must have only a misdemeanor, be screened by jail officials, and have a judge’s approval. The jail is a choice location for criminals who have committed only petty theft or DUI’s, generally carrying sentences less than 14 days.

The Last Words On Death Row

The state of Texas apparently keeps a record of the last words of every inmate on death row. Many of the statements are very short and what you might expect, some are a bit more compelling.

For the most part the criminals show remorse though. Those that don’t tend to pin the crime on someone else, perhaps with intentions to leave a more noble legacy behind, or simply to cleanse their own souls. Or, you know, they may have been innocent.

Steven Woods:

You’re not about to witness an execution, you are about to witness a murder. I am strapped down for something Marcus Rhodes did. I never killed anybody, ever. I love you, Mom. I love you, Tali. This is wrong. This whole thing is wrong. I can’t believe you are going to let Marcus Rhodes walk around free. Justice has let me down. Somebody completely screwed this up. I love you too, Mom. Well Warden, if you are going to murder someone, go ahead and do it. Pull the trigger. It’s coming. I can feel it coming. Goodbye.

Jesse Hernandez:

Tell my son I love him very much. God bless everybody. Continue to walk with God. Go Cowboys! Love ya’ll man. Don’t forget the T-ball. Ms. Mary, thank you for everything that you’ve done. You too, Brad, thank you. I can feel it, taste it, not bad.

George Jones:

Yes, I do, uh at this time I would like to thank my parents who have been my pillar of strength throughout this. To my brothers and sisters and all my family members who have supported me and who have loved me despite my faults and imperfections. I would like to thank Pastor Williams for counseling me and guiding me. As I look to my right and I see the family of Forest Hall. I hope this brings you closure or some type of peace. I hope it helps his family, son and loved ones. This has been a long journey, one of enlightenment. It’s not the end, it’s only the beginning.

Lee Taylor:

Yes, sir. Jennifer, I love you. Mom, I love you. Rick, take care of you. For all of you people, I defended myself when I killed your family member. Prison is a bad place. There was eight against me. I didn’t set out to kill him. I am sorry that I killed him, but he would not have been in prison if he was a saint. I hope ya’ll understand that. I love you, baby.

I hope people understand the grave injustice by the state. There are 300 people on death row, and everyone is not a monster. Texas is carrying out a very inhumane and injustice. It’s not right to kill anybody just because I killed your people. Everyone changes, right? Life is about experience and people change.

I love you, Jennifer. Mom, I love you and all my friends that I have known over the years that have always been there for me. I am ready to teleport. I love you, baby.

I hope you don’t find satisfaction in this, watching a human being die.

More at the link.

Brazilian Prisoners Pedal Their Sentences Away

Brazil has started allowing its inmates to use stationary bikes to generate electricity. As the inmates pedal on these bikes, they get some much needed exercise, and as an added benefit, they provide the electricity to light up the riverside promenade at Santa Rita do Sapucai in the mountains north of Sao Paulo. The area, one which has long been abandoned after dark, has been revived thanks to the pedaling prisoners.

Prison Director Gilson Rafael Silva told EuroNews that after every 3 days of work on the stationary bike, the prisoners sentence is reduced by 1 day.

An Oregon County Releases 96 Prisoners, Including 3 Homicide Suspects

The sheriff of Lane County, Oregon freed 96 prisoners from the county jail, 3 of whom were awaiting trial for manslaughter, due to budget constraints. The action followed the termination of 40 staff members.

Sheriff Tom Turner says there is plenty of room at the jail, but that the budget simply won’t allow for him to keep enough workers to oversee all the inmates.

“It’s like releasing time bombs into your community,” Turner told The Oregonian.

The three suspects awaiting trial on homicide charges left with ankle surveillance bracelets and will be among 150 monitored electronically by Turner’s remaining staff.

The scene at Turner’s jail has played out elsewhere in Oregon and might again in coming years. Late in May, Josephine County released 39 inmates after the defeat of a tax levy to support local law enforcement.

“I thought to myself as they were leaving, I’m just watching a bunch of work walking down the road, a bunch of wasted work,” Turner said.

Going To Prison For The Free Healthcare


Sign of the times: A man attempted to rob a RBC Bank in North Carolina for $1, in the hopes that afterwards he would be taken to prison and receive free healthcare.

James Richard Verone has never been in trouble with the law before, and after he passed the bank teller a note that read “This is a bank robbery. Please give me $1,” he sat and waited patiently for the police to arrive.

Verone, 59 and without health insurance, has multiple issues in need of medical treatment, including a growth on this chest, two ruptured discs and a problem with his left foot. He genuinely believed that going to prison was his best option to receive medical attention.

“I’m sort of a logical person and that was my logic. That is what I came up with,” he said.

“I wanted to make it known that this wasn’t for monetary reasons but for medical reasons.”

Mr Verone, who did not use a weapon during his robbery, said he hopes he is sentenced to three years in prison so he continues receiving healthcare.

“If it is called manipulation, then out of necessity because I need medical care, I guess I am manipulating the courts to get medical care.”

Let’s hope this trend doesn’t catch on. If you’re unemployed and homeless though, free government food, housing, and medical care doesn’t seem like such a bad option.

Blogosphere, We Get It…

A message from the internets.

Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture:

We get it, cognitive dissonance and psychology stuff. All financial professionals who have sneezed should be thrown in jail for the rest of their days. Also, our confirmation bias is telling us that that thing we thought we liked we actually only like because we like it.

Tadas Viskanta at Abnormal Returns:

We get it, there’s a linkfest for that.

Downtown Josh Brown at The Reformed Broker:

We get it, our homeboy thinks that shiz is whack, wtf they be thinksin buying in at that price?

James Altucher:

We get it, you have killed puppies and murdered babies and robbed banks and lied to the Pope and are probably lying to us right now, but it’s cool ’cause you’re honest about it.

Paul Krugman at the New York Times:

We get it, that guy whose opinion slightly differs from yours must be an idiot.

Brad Delong at Grasping Reality with the Invisible Hand:

We get it, no, that guy really is an idiot, probably the dumbest person in the world, everyone should go tell him how dumb he is right now.

Mark Thoma at Economist’s View:

We get it, we should just keep spending and spending and spending and doing otherwise is pretty much heartless towards the poor.

Brad Delong and Mark Thoma:

We get it, you suckle at the Krugman teet.

Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution:

We get it, you’re probably the most well-cultured person alive, now tell us where to eat and what to see at some remote location we’ve never heard of.

Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution:

We get it, there’s a market for those organs you aren’t using, sign up today!

Felix Salmon at Reuters:

We get it, consumer spending issues like payday loans and prepaid debit cards are important and all, but we should really be focusing on developing bike lanes in urban areas, experimenting with fine wines, and appreciating expensive artwork.


We get it, bomb-shelter-up with your gold, the apocalypse is near.

Bill McBride at Calculated Risk:

We get it, you’re going to put the economic numbers into beautiful charts the government isn’t smart enough to do themselves. Also, you’ll continue to keep a tight watch on that indicator we’ve never heard of that tracks deliveries by canoe to some island and apparently has its own index.

Scott Sumner at The Money Illusion:

We get it, NGDP targeting.


We get it, layoffs, bonuses, eating contests, fashion, and extramarital affairs.

Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism:

We get it, you’re with Ritholtz, jail ’em all, MERS. Also, look at these adorable cuddly creatures.

Mike Shedlock at Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis:

We get it, you’re going to examine a problem that probably isn’t a very big deal and tell us how its going to ruin modern civilization.

Greg Mankiw:

We get it, all of our problems could be fixed if we just lowered taxes on the rich/job-creators/scrooges.

Joe Weisenthal at Business Insider:

We get it, check out these 2 SHOCKING economic indicators that will change the way we view the WORLD forever.

Steve Randy Waldman at Interfluidity:

We get it, finance and banking is complex but you understand it. It’s also very complex.

Mark Perry at CARPE DIEM:

We get it, drill baby drill!

Noah Smith at Noahpinion:

We get it, you’re an econoblogosphere mediator of sorts.

Cullen Roche at Pragmatic Capitalism:

We get it, QE is NOT printing money.


We get it, Apple is a good company and makes good products. Not only that, you’re going to just present the “facts” to us in an “unbiased” way so that we can decide for ourselves that Apple invented the wheel and democracy and capitalism and electricity and has 21489045 patents on that one thing that somebody else just made.