New Prisons Chief Makes Work Mandatory
Wed., Jan. 3, 1996
Declaring that a third of the state’s prisoners “ain’t fit to kill,” Georgia’s new prison chief said Tuesday that all inmates will perform daily chores even if it means digging unneeded ditches.
“We have 60 to 65 percent of our inmate population that truly want to do better … but there’s another 30 to 35 percent that ain’t fit to kill and I’m going to be there to accommodate them,” Commissioner Wayne Garner told lawmakers in his first public address since taking office two weeks ago.
Garner also said he would give inmates their smoking privileges back because a new ban on smoking has become “an absolute nightmare” and order inmates to walk four miles a day to help cut down on health-care costs.
Garner said the smoking ban, in effect in 28 of Georgia’s 39 prisons, failed to stop smoking but created a huge black market for cigarettes.
Last year, the governor ordered all weight-lifting equipment removed from prisons, saying it was an unnecessary privilege. Garner said walking is the perfect alternative.
“Inmates do not need to lift weights. We’re not looking for Mr. and Mrs. America. We’re looking for people with strong hearts and great lungs who don’t cost so much to keep up,” he said.
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