#3. Saving an Endangered Species
Now here's one that sounds like the setup for a feel-good Free Willy-type movie starring Morgan Freeman. They're tough-guy inmates ... banding together to save an endangered species! They're breeding rare animals in captivity ... while in captivity themselves! Honestly, it's the kind of plot so corny it'd make your grandma roll her eyes.
"You know what's no longer an endangered species? My heart."
And, yes, it's completely real. The Oregon spotted frog is the threatened species, currently a candidate for the endangered species list. We suppose it's natural that Oregon and Washington State, both so full of unemployed hipsters and retired hippies that they're on the verge of being depicted on their state flags, would want to do something to save the frogs. You would not have thought that one of the more successful programs to save them would be run by convicts at the Cedar Creek Correctional Facility in Littlerock, Washington.
Slimy, unloved, forgotten and under-appreciated. But let's talk about the frogs.
Inmates help care for tadpoles until they're old enough to be released, and unlike the fiasco with the classic cars we just mentioned, this program has exceeded all expectations. Cedar Creek frogs have grown stronger and healthier than frogs in other breeding programs, all because of the careful feeding and care provided by the felons.
And get this -- the program has been so successful that researchers from more traditional programs (ones involving laboratories and trained scientisty people) are actually coming to Cedar Creek to study the convicts' methods.
The Seattle Times
"I learned not to hug them the hard way."
Reportedly, when the frogs are ready they'll be released into an ironically named area known as the Joint Base Lewis McChord wetlands. The credits will roll, the inmates will have learned an important lesson about the sanctity of life and a tearful warden (again, Morgan Freeman) will stride in and announce that the governor has granted them all a pardon and that they are free to go.
Also the governor will be Freeman and all the prisoners will be Freeman with different hats.
Hell, the only way the premise would be more Disney-ready is if they were raising horses.
#2. Raising Horses
Who doesn't love horses? No one, right? You might even love them to the point where you'd be tempted to buy one. And what better horse to buy than one you can adopt, preferably one born in captivity and domesticated by inmates! Hell, you practically get an inspirational montage in your head at the mere mention of it.
They even know the horse whisper -- "Fuck around and I swear I will shank you."
Enter the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and inmates from the Warm Springs Correctional Facility in Carson City, Nevada (other prisons have started running similar programs as well). Basically, the convicts are used to train horses born in captivity for sale and adoption by private citizens, and even disabled children.
Training horses born in captivity is harder than it sounds, and it sounds pretty damn hard to begin with. Those horses are difficult to train because the early contact they have with humans causes them to pick up certain human habits and traits. Habits like sensing moods, anger and stubbornness, and acting out accordingly. Good thing inmates aren't moody and don't have anger issues.
Unfortunately, this horse now drives a pickup and wishes the South had won.
The angle is two-fold: On one hand, the prisoner gets to learn a skill and take pride in knowing that the animal he's raising could eventually brighten the day of some disabled child. On the other hand, by having prisoners train a horse, it increases its value from $125 to over $1,000, thus enabling the prisoner to "earn his keep," or as a more cynical person might put it, "make a ton of money for the prison system."
"Yee-haw, I'm funding my own incarceration!"
People interested in a horse adoption are encouraged to swing on by and start the bidding. But don't wear blue jeans. Why? Because you might be accidentally confused for an inmate and thrown in jail. Happy bidding!
#1. Create a TV Network
As we said, breaking into the entertainment business isn't easy, and maybe as a prisoner you aspire to something more than setting up amps for Cheap Trick. But what other options do you have? You don't live in the Philippines, so you don't have much hope of becoming a dancing star on YouTube.
God, American prisons are so restrictive.
Well, if you do your time in Louisiana, you can wind up helping run an entire TV network.
LSPTv (Louisiana State Penitentiary TV) is an entire closed-circuit television station run by and for inmates. It's the only such network in the nation, offering a rather unique employment opportunity in an industry that even non-incarcerated people have trouble breaking into. Convicts are responsible for filming, editing, production, staffing and every other aspect of the magic that is television programming.
Including being run into the ground and having to fellate the production staff.
That programming includes everything from convict football games, the biannual Angola Prison Rodeo, inmate-produced musical variety programs and Tuesday night boxing. And we have to say ... we would totally watch the hell out of all of that. It's ironic how a group of convicted felons in one of the most violent prisons in the country can put together a better and more diverse programming lineup than the network executives at CBS.
This shit is encouraged here.
Perhaps the inmates have a stronger motivation to provide quality entertainment to an audience that would have no problem expressing their displeasure with a sharpened chunk of bed frame to the ribs.
"My letter-writing campaign failed, so I just started posting ears in the envelopes."
Benjamin Buso lives in Texas and thankfully has never had any of these jobs during his diverse and unique employment history.
And see how you can squander that job away in 6 Bizarre Forms of Discrimination That Can Lose You a Job. Or see why your employer isn't that bad in The 6 Most Horrific Bosses of All Time.