By David Swanson
Walking through Charlottesville, Va., today I saw a sight that is increasingly common in the United States: men in prison uniforms, watched by guards, out working in public, in this case shoveling snow. I asked them if they were being paid for their work, and they just laughed.
A short while later I ran into a city official who was clearly familiar with the prisoner snow-shoveling program. He told me it was nothing new, part of "work release," gave the prisoners a chance to get outside, and that the prisoners were paid.
I pointed out that when asked if they were paid they laughed at me.
Then this official explained that he meant they were paid about 25 cents an hour.