Monday, March 17, 2008

rethinking the chain gang concept

I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang (1932) -- At the link is a great film, recounting the old-style chain gangs that are now outlawed. I lived in Georgia during the late '60s and off and on during the '70s, and one thing I know is that, down there, the concept of the chain gang is not quite dead. They now have more humane work details out sprucing up the public areas, and just about anybody will freely admit that their roadsides look a lot better than ours. I'd like to propose a re-emergence of the chain gang concept in Ohio.

The streets and sidewalks in NEO were impassable last week; work details comprised of prisoners could have been out working round the clock to clear the streets, bus stops, and sidewalks, enabling commerce, making the city pedestrian-friendly, demonstrating to youth that crime doesn't pay. I'm sure the unions wouldn't mind, or at least wouldn't get in the way of progress. After all, the welfare of the public trumps union rights any day, right?

Now, our streets are littered with the detritus of winter. Chainless chain gangs (with leg bracelets, you know?) should be out there getting us squared away. Everybody would benefit, the prisoners wouldn't be idle, and they could then transition to other public maintenance and beautification works in the summer.

We need to employ every available asset to excel. Chainless chain gangs are a start.

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