If one misguided lesson could be taken away from The Shawshank Redemption, it's that a prison term is not the end of the world for somebody aspiring to retire rich to a beachfront house. But let's be honest here: Incarceration tends to produce some holes in a resume.
Fortunately, there are several ways to spin a prison term to a potential employer. Depending on the nature of the crime and which jurisdiction it was committed in, you can wind up with a job that, to be frank, is probably cooler than the one you have now. Like ...
OK, so your rock star dreams didn't work out. Still, you can work in the biz, right? You could become a roadie, go to shows for free and set up amps and stuff for famous bands. Maybe you'll get to meet Nickelback! Or at least get in on some groupie action. But how do you get a job like that?
Apart from renouncing God?
Well, you could try committing a crime. If you get tossed into Rikers Island Correctional Facility in New York, you and your fellow inmates can wind up employed as roadies for visiting concerts at Coney Island's Asser Levy Park.
"Asser Levy Park: The greatest smack-to-body ratio on earth."
Facing budget cutbacks, the borough of Brooklyn has turned to inmates as a low cost alternative to help with the setup and tear down at their concerts. And we're not talking about helping out local bar bands, either -- inmates have been used to set up for (and clean up after) the B-52's, the Beach Boys, Cheap Trick and George Thorogood. Wait, does the program only apply to '80s bands?
We can't be sure who's committed the bigger crime here.
Lest the felons decide to steal a souvenir for themselves (like a guitar pick, or a family member), Department of Corrections spokesmen say the prisoners are all carefully monitored during the day's labor, and that only the most non-violent ones are randomly selected to go just minutes before the buses leave. Somehow, the program has met with mixed reactions from the community.
They really fucking hate the B-52's.
Still, it seems like a pretty sweet deal for some lucky inmates. Imagine you're a guest of the state and your plans for the day consist of not becoming someone's girlfriend, when a guard taps you on the shoulder and tells you that you're working on a chain gang. But instead of finding yourself picking up litter on the side of a highway, you're setting up a show for 38 Special. Sure beats the hell out of working in the prison laundry.
When you think of a prisoner building a weapon, the most common image is some crude form of knife made out of a toothbrush. Really, say what you want about prisoners, but you can't help but admire the creativity that inmates show when it comes time to fashion a makeshift arsenal.
Every one of these is designed for rectal use.
In an attempt to capitalize on this untapped resource, one company named Unicor (formerly known as the much cooler Federal Prison Industries) has put all of that destructive creative energy to work. With deals for such defense contractors as General Dynamics, McDonnell Douglas, Lockheed Martin and Textron, Unicor employees get paid a starting salary of 23 cents an hour to build components for the F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, the Patriot Missile System and the Cobra attack helicopter.
"Ground, the autopilot is taking me above the correction facility yard. Confirm. Please confirm!"
And what could possibly go wrong with allowing convicts to work with heavy weapons? It's not like it's possible for someone in captivity to use parts from various weapons systems to build some type of robotic exoskeleton and go on a one-man rampage.
Unicor takes an altruistic view on their activities. As one Unicor executive said, "Prisons without meaningful activities for inmates are dangerous prisons, and dangerous prisons are expensive prisons." We have to say, he kind of has a point.
On the scale of ultimate "guy jobs" that a guy could realistically get, working on high-end sports cars falls somewhere between sports broadcaster and porn editor. Yet some prisoners get to do it. One company, Unique Performance, contracted inmates to build Shelby GT's and other six-figure rides.
Well, hell, that works out for everybody, right? The inmates get a dream job, and rich dudes suffering a mid-life crisis get a kick-ass car. And they can drive it knowing that every minute spent building it was teaching some con the skills he'd need out in the real world. Everybody wins!
This guy now knows how to hotwire Aston Martins AND Lamborghinis!
Well, on paper, anyway. These enterprising convicts, under the direction of Unique Performance, decided to be a little creative in how they restored these Shelbys. It was discovered that close to 13 gallons of Bondo was used in each restored car. Bondo is kind of like Silly Putty; it's used (sparingly) to fill dents on damaged body frames. It is also fairly universally agreed to be the cheapest and shittiest product ever invented for body work. No reputable mechanic would ever use substantial amounts of it on his own car, let alone a piece of art like a Shelby GT.
"Alright, I'm ready for the Maserati."
Dozens of people, ranging from former Secret Service agents to Hollywood actors, were taken in by this scam, paying up to $200,000 for vehicles that were built with the same attention to artistic craft and detail as the average prison tattoo.
That's Sanskrit for "hackjob."
OK, we're now a little nervous about that previous entry involving military weapon system components. But, we're thinking inmate labor is probably all about the supervision. Leave a bunch of convicts to their own devices and you're lucky you don't wind up with a makeshift Flame Throwing Prison Escape Murder Tank.