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Mr. HARDY. There are some unions which are helpful and supportive and there are other unions that are restrictive and our men can't seem to crack those areas of employment. Before I go on record and be reported in some paper as to what the unions are thinking, I would just like to say that some unions are resistant and some are very helpful.
Senator STEVENSON. Thank you, Mr. Hardy.
Mr. HARDY. Our next witness is Dr. Arnold Trebach, who has worked with the Department of Corrections as a consultant and representing the Urban Coalition. Dr. Trebach has so many things going that I can't keep a full background on him but he is here to speak on the common market and the regional and private industries in corrections.
STATEMENT OF ARNOLD S. TREBACH, PH. D., SENIOR CONSULTANT,
CRIMINAL JUSTICE PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT
Dr. TREBACH. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, as Mr. Hardy indicated, I am an independent criminal justice consultant, a private citizen and, in fact, I am a constituent of Senator Mathias.
Senator MATHIAS. Very welcome news.
Dr. TREBACH. Thank you. I am not an official of the Department, however I do count myself among the friends of the District of Columbia Department of Corrections. I am proud to say that because in my opinion it either is or is fast becoming about the best correctional department in the country. I say that with full appreciation of its being a far-ranging statement. Having said that I still must point out that in my opinion as good as the Department is, that it, like virtually all American correction, is still perpetuating a form of what I call slavery or peonage in terms of the work program that it has in institutions. I know it is a strong word but there is no other way for me to describe the situation which they have in Lorton and all American institutions where men are working because they must work if they want any money at all. They are now being paid wages of 12 cents an hour. It may be higher in Lorton. It can be higher in the New York Bureau. But it might run up to 36 cents or a little bit higher. Unless we face the fact that we do have this system, which is accepted as normal in American practice, we haven't faced one of the most fundamental problems in our attempt to control crime in this country. I think this type of thing is crime producing.
In this sense. Look at a man who commits a crime. What are the characteristics! The most outstanding characteristic of the criminal we worry about, the people who commit violent crimes, is that they are poor. Man is wretched. We then take them and rehabilitate them, we make them infinitely poor and infinitely more wretched. There is something perverse about that.
Change must fully come in our approach to how we provide work for men serving a sentence. Clearly change must come in the correctional industry. Change must come in the way we direct and compensate those men under sentence who in effect run the institution. These are the men locked in an industry, in the kitchen, or what have you. They are paid--but they are paid peon wages. Now I do happen to know that Mr. Hardy, Mr. Montilla, and Mr. Gregory are among the leaders who continue to change the situation and clearly change must come.
Now among the changes that are contemplated are some projects on which I have been working such as the following: There should be full wages for the most productive workers in these institutions. By full wages I mean that we are rapidly coming to the point where this system or any other system must pay the sweeper the regular wage that he gets on the outside if he just sweeps the floor and is an inmate. We must pay a worker in the industrial shop the competitive wage that he would get on the outside. Incidentally I did this study for the National Urban Coalition, I looked around to see if anywhere in this country I could find an example which had recognized this single problem fact that a man working in an institution should get paid what he gets paid on the outside. I could find no existing example in American corrections. I don't say it's not there. I couldn't find one. I found foreign examples but nothing in this country.
Another change should be private enterprise taking over some of these shops-employing the men at regular wages and selling the goods as freely as they come.
Another change we are working on would be a mutual common market covering the mid-Atlantic region, tying together correctional systems in mutually supporting ways and the sale of products and the kind of lines that one institution does badly so that each institution builds to its capacity to produce effectively. In addition to that we need to talk about the possibility of creating a public corporation such as TVA, tying together these institutions in a more prominent fashion. As a start toward that we recently created a regional correction action council which Mr. Sisson mentioned. I will mention this in summary fashion just to bring out some of the details. I think this committee could well urge the Department to go ahead with the task of changing these work programs and changing this industry and perhaps have a member report_back in 6 to 8 months with a legislative package to implement. Right now all can be done within the existing framework of law. However, there are some laws that would be helpful to move along. It seems to me there could be a law encouraging employment and fair wages for offenders serving sentence and a free flow in interstate commerce of the goods they produce. As long as the employment is voluntary and the offender keeps his wages.
Right now, making one up, we have a real bag of law on this point. The older law tends to discourage the employment of offenders in a gainful way. The newer laws tend to encourage it. But when you look at the two of them they are somewhat in conflict. As for example the Prisoner Rehabilitation Act of 1965 was a neat package. That was encouraging employment. Teddy Roosevelt in the 1905 Executive order would tend to discourage the employment. There is some legislative house cleaning to be done there that would be helpful. I think this could be a law encouraging regional compact, like TVA, tying together correctional institutions. Right now they tend to be inefficient. As far as this Department goes, specifically, I think it should have the authority that it does not have now to transfer funds out of the capital budget to inmate wages so it could pay a decent salary.
So that it could pay, if it desires, for efficiency to produce and other areas, full wages to inmates working for it.
I believe also that the right of labor for competition wages within an institution should be common as it is now, a civil right for any American citizen not abrogated by a conviction. By that I mean that we have started to recognize and in a very surprising way started to drag out old concepts and trying to correct them that when a man enters an institution and has to work to earn anything, he has the right not to be forced to work for a peon or slave wage. Thank you.
Senator STEVENSON. Senator Mathias?
Senator MATHIAS. You told us that the minimum wage at Lorton is 12 cents. What is the maximum?
Dr. TREBACH. Frankly I picked that out because I interviewed a man there at one point. Mr. Gregory and I have been working on these things together. We were very much together, and to that man I said, what did you make last month and I think he said $17.46. I said how much is that an hour, and he said 12 cents. I don't know that that is the minimum. I think the minimum is a lot less. There are men at $3 a month. I think I heard some say 40 cents an hour.
Mr. GREGORY. Can I respond to that? There's an incentive program set up recently. We have had some men make a maximum of $108 a month. This I think is based on the number of hours actually worked which came to 83 cents which is the maximum at Lorton. This is in the industry shop. It doesn't cover the folks who work in the kitchens and other minimum jobs which have to be done for the institution.
Senator MATHIAS. How does it compare with the Bureau?
Dr. TREBACH. Mr. Chairman, I would like to place into the record a report I did for the National Urban Coalition entitled “Private Industries in Corrections: A Plan for Action.” I wonder if I may introduce that here?
Senator STEVENSOx. You may. Received for the record without objection.
(The report on "Private Industries in Corrections: A Plan for Action," follows:)
PRIVATE INDUSTRIES IN CORRECTIONS: A PLAN FOR ACTION
A PRELIMINARY STUDY REPORT TO THE NATIONAL URBAN COALITION,
FEBRUARY 15, 1971
CRIMINAL JUSTICE PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION,
Washington, D.C., February 15, 1971. Mr. JACK H. VAUGHAN, President, National Urban Coalition, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. VAUGHAN: In accordance with our agreement, I am pleased to submit this report on the preliminary exploration of the feasibility of establishing private industries in correctional institutions, which could become one part of the Urban Coalition's national strategy to aid in improving the administration of criminal justice.
The report concludes by outlining a specific “Plan for Action" which the National Urban Coalition could follow. Sincerely,
ARNOLD S. TREBACH,
Do you know, or can you conceive, of an industrial enterprise involving 200,000 employees which turns out a critical product which would use 50 to 150-year-old plants, equipment, and techniques, no research, low pay and little or no training for its production workers, no long-range planning, no concern for its output or quality control?
These questions answer themselves.
Yet, with notable exceptions in a few of the states and the Federal system this is a description of the [correctional] process we use to deal with prisoners. Is it any wonder that we find a grim and distressing “recall” of 65% of the human output of these prisons "back to the factory”? This is a true pollution of society and it manifests itself in the highest crime rate of our 200 years of existence, with most crimes being committed by “graduates” from these penal institutions.
-Chief Justice Warren E. Burger,
Remarks before the Association of the
ary 17, 1970. An aphorism frequently heard in the prison administration of Sweden concerning their work program is : "First build a factory, then add a prison to it.”
It will be years, I suspect, before we will be experimenting with the full wages prison in this country; but the logic behind it is compelling and it is only a question of time surely before the advantages to the community and to the prisoners that such a system offers for certain classifications of prisoners brings it into existence.
“Lessons from the Adult Correctional System of Sweden,” Federal Probation, December 1966.
This is a report to the National Urban Coalition on a preliminary exploration into two questions:
First, does it appear to be feasible to operate private industries for a profit within or near a correctional institution, employing inmate-workers and paying them normal free-society wages?
Second, does it appear that the National Urban Coalition could play an effective role in such a program?
The judgments in this report are based on a limited study covering a period of less than two months. Notwithstanding these research limitations and the great deal of further work necessary for effective implementation, our opinion is that the answer to both questions is yes.
Moreover, we recommend that the National Urban Coalition take concrete action by creating a task force that would pull together the business, labor, correctional, offender, governmental, and other involved interests in a joint effort to explore, plan, and implement two private industry pilot programs.
Our mandate from the Coalition called for us to :
Contact correctional officials, inmates, released offenders, business and labor leaders, and local coalitions to seek their views on the feasibility of private industry projects
Review briefly the state-of-the-art of present correctional industries and of related offender rehabilitation, education, and job training programs
Discuss the major economic, financial, organizational, and legal difficulties that would have to be overcome
Explore the possibility of setting up pilot projects to test out the concept at a few selected sites
Obtain tentative commitments from business, labor, and governmental organizations to assume specific responsibilities in the event that this program is implemented
Submit the plan for action on approximately February 15, 1971
All of these goals, save one, were accomplished, within the limits imposed by time, during this first exploratory study. That exception was the obtaining of tentative commitments. For a variety of reasons, especially the depressed state of the economy, we felt it wise not to press for even tentative commitments by business or labor until more information is gathered and until more groundwork is completed. Notwithstanding our reluctance to seek tentative commitments, we did find more than ample evidence of government and private interest-evidence which would encourage us to urge the coalition to pursue this program.
We are indebted to the many private businessmen, government officials, offenders and especially those correctional officials who have provided information and counsel. Correctional officials-whose institutions are in a sense taken to task in this brief study-offered encouragement and received the “private correctional industries" concept with enthusiasm. In our judgment we can count on their continued enthusiastic support and cooperation.
Finally, we should stress that work—whether in private or existing correctional industries—is but one facet of rehabilitation. While we think it a most important aspect, with many far-reaching consequences, we do not suggest it as a panacea nor do we suggest that it is the only needed reform. We do suggest that it is an area in which the National Urban Coalition can bring about important changes by the commitment of its unique good offices.
1. THE CHALLENGE: HOW CAN WE MAKE A SUCCESS OF A CONVINCING CASE OF
“The American system for correcting and rehabilitating criminals presents a convincing case of failure."
This flat statement made by President Nixon on November 13, 1969, represents the present thinking of a cross section of Americans. The cover of Time magazine on January 18, 1971, contained the banner lead, “U.S. Prisons : Schools for Crime."
Clearly, something must be done with a correctional system which deals so ineffectively with approximately two million Americans a year, about 500,000 of whom are behind bars, with the rest "out" on probation or parole. Moreover, there seems to be a growing conviction that now is the time to initiate bold, innovative programs which might change the course of corrections and rehabilitation, and thus cut the crime rate. Many people, moreover, are coming to agree with the President's Crime Commission that recidivism constitutes the hard core of the crime problem.
At present, while offenders are incarcerated, very little is done to hange them into law-abiding citizens. Offenders enter correctional institutions as convicted criminals : 98 percent of them are released at some point in time and many return to “criminal careers"-careers which tend to escalate in seriousness. Over a billion dollars is spent on corrections every year in this country. Most is wasted.
In the face of these somber facts, there is cause for hope. That cause is found in the many education, training, employment, and treatment programs which have been tried over the past several years. Reports show, at least on a limited basis, that new programs can teach offenders how to function effectively and take advantage of the economic opportunity system of this society. Such programs may have a dramatic impact on recidivism rates.
Unfortunately, favorable advances that have been taking place in corrections often go unnoticed by the public. The District of Columbia's Department of Corrections has inaugurated many new ideas in its programs during the last few years. Indeed, this department may well have the lowest recidivism rate of any correctional system in the country. Yet, during the recent publicity about the drop in the District's crime rate, the role of the correctional system as a crime-reducing agent was hardly mentioned.
Many recent correctional demonstration projects suggest that meaningful employment and adequate income are among the most important determinants