Missouri Inmates Working in Private Sector

OCTOBER 6, 2006 - Posted at 4:01 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - They pick grapes at a winery, load farm fertilizer onto trucks, slaughter turkeys, even bathe and feed nursing home residents.

Scores of Missouri prisoners are working in the private sector, getting paid minimum wage or better in jobs that are allowing them to save money, send cash home and afford a few more frills behind bars.

The Missouri Dept. of Corrections has more than 30,000 inmates and about 65 contracts to supply inmate labor.

Inmates convicted of the most serious levels of murder, rape, robbery, assault, arson, kidnapping and child or sexual abuse are excluded from Missouri's work-release program.  To work in the private sector, inmates must be within two years of their scheduled release and be rated as a minimal public risk.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)