Massachusetts county sheriff Thomas Hodgson has proposed sending prison inmates from around the country to build the President-elect’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall.
At his swearing-in ceremony for a fourth term in office, the Bristol County Sheriff explained,
“I can think of no other project that would have such a positive impact on our inmates and our country than building this wall.”
He went on to state,
“Aside from learning and perfecting construction skills, the symbolism of these inmates building a wall to prevent crime in communities around the country, and to preserve jobs and work opportunities for them and other Americans upon release, can be very powerful.”
The Sheriff, a Republican supporter of President-elect Donald Trump, claims that Mr. Trump is a “powerful deterrent to illegal immigration.”
Over the course of his campaign, Donald Trump promised his supporters that he would build a border wall and that Mexico would pay for it. While he seems to be working hard to make good on his promise of building the wall, it’s unclear who will pay for it — although Mexico’s president has clearly stated that the country will not, despite what Mr. Trump continues to say to the contrary.
The above tweet translates to:
“In my conversation with Trump about the border, I was also very clear: Mexico will not pay for any wall.”
Since then, many new developments have been made. For one, the GOP is reportedly working to package funds to build the proposed border wall into a larger spending bill which must be voted on in April or else the government risks shut down. In response to criticism of this, Mr. Trump has stated that Mexico will reportedly repay the funds after they are fronted by the United States.
The Republican Sheriff’s comments are just the latest display of the country’s use of prison labor. According to the Huffington Post, advocates of the use of prison labor claim that it helps inmates learn skills that prepare them for their return into mainstream society. However, opponents more accurately call it exploitation because of the fact that inmates are not fairly compensated for their work.
As it stands, the federal prison system operates 53 factories that produce roughly $500 million in clothing, electronics, and other goods.
American Civil Liberties Union staff counsel Laura Rotolo explained to the Huffington Post that,
“The proposal is perverse, it’s inhumane and very likely unconstitutional. It certainly has nothing to do with helping prisoners in Massachusetts or their families. It’s about politics.”