Fifteen prisoners at Pueblo, CO’s minimum-security La Vista Correctional Facility plant crops and pull weeds in a new prison farm-labor program, says the Denver Post. One participant commented that she is so happy to leave prison each day that she doesn’t mind rising at 3:30 a.m. and working in 100-degree heat. Farmers are equally pleased. Katherine Sanguinetti of the Colorado Department of Corrections said the inmates stay occupied, making it easier to manage them. Letting farmers pay for inmate labor helps prevent farms from going under. “It’s a win-win situation,” she said.
The traditional farm laborers who planted and picked vegetables on southern Colorado farms are staying out of the state after legislators last year passed one of the country’s toughest laws against illegal immigrants. Some farmers see Colorado inmates as their possible salvation – the most viable replacements for the gaps once filled by illegal immigrants. “We have been pleasantly surprised at the serious motivation the inmates have shown to learn different skills and also their ability to hang in,” said a letter from several farmers.