The taxpayer’s burden

Harris, Larry "Rocky"



THE TAXPAYER'S BURDEN I am a prisoner housed at the Illinois Department Of Corrections Prison located in Pinckneyville Illinois. If the reader was to punch up this prison on the State website one would find that the current rate of incarceration is at $18,355.00 per one year of my living in prison. This is down from the $30,000.00 price tag that was in place in the early days of the 2000's. One would ask why is is getting cheaper? The budget cuts in the prison system due to the budget crisis in Illinois is the answer to that query posed. Still at an average of the new amount of $18,355.00 a year I have cost the Illinois Taxpayer $385,455.00 for my twenty-one years of imprisonment. I have seventeen more years to remain locked down. The total cost will he a whopping 688,312.50 dollars to keep me in an Illinois Prison. The get tough on crime rhetoric, used by politicians to scare the public in to placing them in office,has built a system of prison warehouses in Illinois the budget can not support. The stripping of the budget only makes a meaner criminal, with no rehabilitation, to be released in to the public. The get tough on prisoners mindset,of former Governor Ryan's Director of Prison Administration, Donald Synder,has stripped out all programs that generated money back in to the prison budget. A point to note is that Donald Snyder was a thief and so was Governor Ryan. Both are serving prison terms for the pay to play prosecution they faced at the end of their terms of public serve in Illinois. Still not one prison administrator in office to this day has been able to think outside the box and change the policies I THE TAPAYER'S BURDEN-Rocky Harris-2 { t put in place that stripped the prison system from generating money hack in to it's own budget. Director Snyder got on the radio and television preaching the prisoners in Illinois were being pampered like babies. This rhetoric allowed him to strip all the programs that generated money by sales of products to the convict population. The Jaycee’s Programs sold pizza's,ice cream,sandwhiches,clothes,sodas,and other produces to the men that keep their noses clean and out of trouble. In the 2B prisons in Illinois this generated millions in revenue that went back in to the prison budget, thus off-setting the heavy responsibility placed on the taxpayer to support the prison budget. Director Snyder removed the Daycae's Program in July of 1997. Just think of the millions of dollars lost. These dollars could have been in the prison budget over the last twelve years. The money taken from these programs could have resulted in millions spent on Illinois Schools, rebuilding bridges,health care,ect„, Snyder placed a punitive policy of locking the men in a cell all day. He restricted the amount of property each man could have, he restricted the amount of food and clothing the prisoner could buy and have in his cell. This caused the money generated by commissary sales to plummet. Again millions of dollar that could have been generated to pay the salary of the State workers has been lost over the past twelve years. This is money the taxpayer had to replace. The public must now ask itself a few questions here. Do I want the prisoners to have a few more priviledges that will generate money back in to the prison budget? Dr do THE TAXPAYER'S BURDEN-Rocky Harris-3 f. * I want the punitive nolicies to stay in place? As the taxpayer it is your money and your choice here. The public officials need to hear your opinion on these issues. Would the change in prison policies in place generate more capital to off-set the cost of prison personnel? Yes, because the Inmate Benifit Fund,generated by the write-toup on commissary sales to prisoners,currently pays the commissary civilian markers wages. Sixty percent of the funds brought about by sales of food,clothing,cosmetics,and electrical items such as television, radios,type-writers,ect.? is used to pay the wages of the personnel in these prison positions. Thus the taxpayer is not burdened with their salary. If the 5 item limit on electric permit items was lifted the prisoner could buy and own a television,radio,electric razor,fan,hot pot,watch,calculator,hair trimmers. This is money generated in sales. This Is money put back in to the budget. Director Snyder placed the 5 item limit to make the prisoner have less property as a punitive punishment. The man has bit his nose off to spite his face with thesis® policy in effect. Snyder placed new rules in to effect restricting the property allowed in the cell. By placing restrictions ."like this he cut the commissary sales down greatly. Two property boxes were issued to the prison population. All your prooerty must fit in these box. Only a feu cosmetic items,a towel and wash rag are allowed to ha placed on the shelves in the cell. No food items or books are allowed to be left on the shelves in the cell. Thus the limits on commissary puchases and storage rules are punitive and stop money from being made THE TAXPAYER’S 8URDEN-Rocky Harris-A to off-set the cost of the prison budget. Men can only buy commissary they can fit in to their box. Therefore sales are limited to what a-prisoner must---fit in to his property box. If the men were allowed to place their commissary purchases on the shelves, in plain view for the officers, then the men would buy more food and generate more funds to return to the prison budget in place. Why would the men spend more money one might ask? The dietary budget has been slashed by over seven million dollars since 2003. Governor Blagojevich got in to bed with Archer Daniel Midland soy bean company. In his pay to play schemes he took all the beef and pork out of the budget replacing it with the poison ADM sells to the prison system at a profit of millions of dollars a year. This diet has major detrimental effects on the Illinois prisoners health. The soy protein mixed with poultry scraps makes up the meat substitute fed to the population. The men do not want to eat the meals served to save money. The men go to the chow hall each day and must decide to eat and get sick, or starve. Therefore commissasry sales it at an all time high. If the punitive sales and storage restrictions were lirted then money to pay wages would surely double. The men are sick with permanent damage and sueing. Aqain-*-the taxpayer will pay the bill in these costly lawsuit brought over the diet in place. For more on this log on to or go to the Federal Court site in the Illinois Central District and review Harris et al.v. Brown at al. 3:07-cv-03225 with the THE TAXPAYER'S BURDEN-Rocky Harris-5 j * lawsuit filed in Springfield Illinois. Another thing the taxpayer should know about. The farms owned by the Illinois Department Of Corrections are idle. Mo cattle,pigs,or chicken are raised in these farms anymore. The meat substitute is bought from ADM at a very high cost to the taxpayer in fees by bulk and lawsuits for damage brought by soy consumption. Why should this be changed the taxpayer must ask? If the farms were brought back to life at Menard,Pontiac, Stateville,and Vandalia,meat could be raised and fed to the population of the prisons at no cost to the taxpayer. The sales of excess beef,pork ,and chicken raised could be sold off to pay the salaries of the Stats Prison employees. Tt is a no loss situation here. When the farms are brought back to life you have a very positive aspect of prison life. 1 . The meat fed to the prison population will be grass fed beef at no cost to the taxpayer. The chickens and pork can be raised also on pasture and with little overhead. 2. The prisoners will be given jobs raising the animals, thus learning a job skill. They will understand how to work a job, receive a wage each month, and learn to become a productive citizen upon release by having job skills and in house training. 3. Once the farms are up and running on a profit the extra meat can be sold on the market at reasonable rates to off-set the prison budget. It is a win-win situation here. Once the farms are in place vegetable could be raised,harvested by the prisoners, and feed to the population reducing the need to buy vegetables in cans. Thus the budget is cut again by farm THE TAXPAYER’S BLIRDEM-Rocky Harris-6 raised product that are raised with no cost. The prisonar wages could be paid from the Inmate Ben&fii* Fund and the sales of the excess vegetables raised. All could be sold at a fair market price as not to underbid the free market venders, iiie have young men locked in cells each day just praying for a chance to join in programs like this. To be given a purpose in their time behind bars. The taxpayer must review these issues and decide if it wants to support the punitive punishment system in place, or demand changes that will generate millions in savings and revenue to be placed back in to the prison budget. I have 21 years in this box. I know these changes could recover millions in the cost of the prison budget. Create jobs that teach skills, and most important relieve the taxpayers expense in the prison system in place in Illinois. You, the taxpayer must voice your opinion here. It is your tax dollars at steak here people. Demand better of your dollars taken from your check each week. It is a win-win situation here. Rocky Harris

Author: Harris, Larry "Rocky"

Author Location: Illinois

Date: October 23, 2016

Genre: Essay

Extent: 6 pages

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