For some reason, society seems to have a general perception that people in prison are lazy and don’t want to work. Maybe this myth was perpetuated by movies and TV shows, but I honestly don’t know where the idea came from.
Some people think that those who commit crimes or use drugs want to avoid work and not contribute to society, but this is not the case. The vast majority of those imprisoned were punished for mistakes they made or because of drug laws that criminalize personal choice.
Most people who go to jail are not career criminals.Instead, they are ordinary, everyday people who tend to have mental health problems or addiction issues.
So, the question for this blog post is: Can you work in a prison? The answer is yes. Not only can you work in a prison, but most facilities require you to have a job or attend school.
This blog post will cover:
- Do most prisoners want to work?
- How much money do people working in prisons make?
- What’s it like to be a teacher or librarian in prison?
Do most prisoners want to work?
Popular culture has influenced the public’s perception of prison life. It seems people believe that prisons are either vacation spots for white-collar criminals or violent thunderbolts for the strong to survive.
No matter what facility you’re being held in, it’s not a vacation. Unfortunately, there are some facilities where the living conditions are extremely violent. However, many prisons are large campuses with their own societies behind barbed wire.
Prisoners work, go to school, play, make friends, just like in the free world. Of course, this is a controlled society with zero degrees of freedom for the residents, so there is a huge difference.
Most prisoners want to work. If you have completed your studies, most prisons require you to have a job. Nothing makes time go slower than doing nothing, and if no one is sending you money, working is essential because it’s the only way to earn cash so you can call friends and family or Buy things from the Commissary.
Prisons cannot function without the prisoners. They work in food service, building maintenance, grounds maintenance (lawn mowing and snow removal), cleaning services, and housekeeping. Inmates also work in the commissary and as clerks in the administrative, asylum, recreational and medical departments. Prisoners have jobs in every part of the prison, except in segregated housing units.
When I was in prison, I worked in the commissary, which was basically like working in a grocery store. When inmates place their orders, I pull their items from the shelves and make a call at the register. It’s a coveted position because it’s the highest paying job in the camp. Because I have access to inventory, I have to strip search every time I leave work.
I should also mention that most prisons have some sort of work release program that allows prisoners to leave the prison grounds and work in a local business or volunteer organization. Sometimes they work for state agencies like the Department of Transportation, so you’ll see them sweeping up trash or weeding along the highway.
How much money do people working in prisons make?
As I said before, prisons cannot function if prisoners do not have jobs.it is A modern version of slave labor. For example, at the Missouri prison where I was incarcerated, a food service job required you to work full time, and your income $8.50 per month. However, if you get promoted to chef position, you can earn $15 per month.
When I got this job at the commissary, it was a big deal because it was the highest paying job in camp. It starts at $35 a month and I raise $2.50 a month until I hit $75.
Prisoners on working release make big bucks. Those who work for the Department of Transportation earn about $9 a day. If you have a CNA license, you can work at a local nursing home and earn minimum wage. However, it is a very hard job to find and the waiting list is long.
What’s it like to be a teacher or librarian in prison?
One of the best jobs available to inmates is that of a library assistant or teacher’s assistant. When you work in a library it means you control who gets what book, that’s a position of power in a prison. It also gives you access to a wealth of reading material to help pass the time.
I know teacher aides love their jobs because that’s what they work so hard for. Many of my inmates did not finish school. So after they get their GED in prison, they can apply to be a teacher’s assistant. Finding that job gave many inmates a sense of accomplishment.
Working in a prison library or education department means you are promote the rehabilitation of prisonersthat would be very satisfying.Unless they’re on superprison or death row, most inmates have jobs or go to school. Not only does this help pass the time, but it also allows the prisoner to earn some money. Yes, you can work in prison and most of the time it is required. Are you surprised that prisoners earn so little from work? Let us know in the comments below.
Sources: Serious Mental Illness Prevalence in Jails and Prisons A Day In The Life of a Prison Librarian Prison Labor is Modern Slavery