I have a very dumb question because I have not lived in prison, just contributed to movies and tv programs.
Instead of real money, what about “Prison Cash” that is only usable while in prison? That way you can reward prisoners on good behavior and work beyond in-house chores?
And you cannot BUY prison cash using money from the outside. It has to be earned and used only within the prison walls.
I realize there are some people in prison I’ve met briefly on the outside who are in for life. They don’t have a way to trade and barter well on the inside. Some may not have contacts on the outside who are able to help them.
A long time ago I offered to pay people in prison to work, BUT I got blocked by others who wanted to pay people to work in prison–or possibly just law enforcement who did not want certain criminals to get money. Because of this, I had people I wanted to hire who got prison time who ended up working against me and there was nothing I could do but suffer it! This kind of thing should not happen! I genuinely wanted to help some people.
I still can’t, but one way to help is to offer this. Prison Cash INSTEAD of outside cash. Just the idea could help many. I have learned enough, that even criminal strangers in for life should have the opportunity to improve their restricted life they have left.
I realize it could cost money to print the cash, but perhaps prisoners can be used to work for the money to cover the costs? I know no one wants to put out extra money for people in prison, or maybe they do. Is there a non-profit organization or a company that would like to donate to the printing costs? The ‘bills’ can be smaller than the U.S. dollar sizes we use for instance. And you wouldn’t need as much security embedded in the paper and inks because obviously criminals cannot create their own print shop within a prison. Hey, even Monopoly game-type-looking money could work. Just set a standard that everyone can trade with. Lesser types of paper can be used since the bills won’t be traveling that much.
I nominate prisoners to have a design contest and decide on the look if they do their own specific prison-based monetary system.
The prison money system should stay within the walls. I believe doing it this way will keep the advantage of it within the walls and things more equal. In other words, NEVER a trade up to real money outside of prison. What is earned within the walls, stays within the walls.
Having a positive reinforcement system such as Prison Cash may help prisons control inmates this way, give them a new tool and method of control. It may even help create an environment of fewer conflicts, uprisings, etc. In the long run it may keep costs down and prisons a little safer. Currently I do not think there is a way for a prison to give regular currency to pay an inmate for going above what they are asked to do. For instance, maybe an inmate can get some Prison Cash for working overtime in the laundry. Even just a single “Prison Cash Dollar” could go a long way. There should be no inflation problems unless cash is granted too much and too often.
Those who are not used to working for money at all could learn something too. The value of money and working for it instead of just stealing money. And there will be no opportunity to buy drugs or guns in prison (or there shouldn’t be).
Perhaps Prison Cash can be traded for a comic book, or a new religious book, new toothbrush, etc. Very simple, allowable things within the walls of prison. Or how about “that guy” who had kitchen or laundry or other cleaning worked so many extra hours over time and done well that he/she earned enough Prison Cash to buy a day off–with no work at all! WITHOUT creating an atmosphere of competition that gets out of control. So if an inmate gets argumentative or does something bad they could get fined a dollar. If they run out, then I’m sure there are other ways to punish. The old ways.
Not all people in prison are in for life. Not all even committed murder. This may help those who will be preparing to leave again.