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Mass. GOP, Sheriff: Stop Paying Prisoners For Work

Republican lawmakers and Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson have unveiled a proposal to end the practice of paying prisoners for their work.

Republican state Rep. Elizabeth Poirier of North Attleborough joined Hodgson Tuesday at the State House to reveal a bill that Poirer said could save the state up to $3 million.

Inmates currently receive pay for their labor and reduced prison time. The proposed legislation would mean prisoners no longer receive pay.

Poirier said the savings could be put toward elderly services and services for the mentally and physically disabled.

Hodgson and Poirier say reduced time in prison is enough incentive for prisoners to work, and it is unfair that prisoners are paid with taxpayer money.

"It certainly is a greater incentive to be released earlier to get back to their family and start their life over again, as opposed to a minimal amount of money that would go into their canteen account," Poirier said.

The bill faces an uphill fight in the Legislature, which ends its formal session on July 31.

This program aired on July 13, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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