In a pilot program run by the state Corrections Department, supervised teams of low-risk inmates beginning this month will be available to harvest the swaths of sweet corn, peppers and melons that sweep the southeastern portion of the state.
Under the program, which has drawn criticism from groups concerned about immigrants' rights and from others seeking changes in the criminal justice system, farmers will pay a fee to the state, and the inmates, who volunteer for the work, will be paid about 60 cents a day, corrections officials said.
Concerned about the possible shortage of field labor, Dorothy B. Butcher, a state representative from Pueblo and a supporter of the program, said, "The workers on these farms do the weeding, the harvesting, the storing, everything that comes with growing crops for the market."
"If we can't sustain our work force, we're going to be in trouble," said Ms. Butcher, a Democrat.
So they outlawed immigrant labor in this area. The crops all rotted because they couldn't find anyone who would work for shit. Now they've worked it out so they can pay convicts 6 cents an hour.
If there were justice in this world, these farm operators would be compelled by law to mark any such fruit and veg as having been picked by prisoners. Maybe with a little Convict Fresh! sticker on each piece: