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Philadelphia Councilman Wants To Put Prison Inmates To Work

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Insisting it won’t be the modern-day equivalent of a chain gang, a city councilman is calling for hearings on the idea of paying inmates of Philadelphia prisons to work on streets and in the parks.

Councilman at large Jim Kenney has no specific proposal, but he wants a hearing to explore the idea of putting local inmates to work cleaning parks and streets for $10 an hour. Paying them is important, he says, as it would send a positive message.

“It gives them an opportunity to do service for the community at a cheaper cost than it would be otherwise, and also to put some money in their bank accounts, so they can see that they can work and earn, as opposed to steal and earn,” Kenney alleges.

Kenney says the prisoners would have to be on electronic monitoring, like an ankle bracelet.

“God forbid the person bolted, we would catch them within an hour, and they’d be out of the program.”

No date has yet been set for the hearing.

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