What tasks do prisoners perform?


Prisoners engage in a variety of tasks while incarcerated. According to and , inmates work within a unique monetary system where they earn extremely low wages. Common tasks include cooking, cleaning, and working in agriculture on prison farms, described as "picking greens" or planting and harvesting produce, which serves as a food source for the prison system. There are also opportunities for trusted prisoners to work in less labor-intensive roles, such as in a prison museum 1.

Additionally, discusses the entrepreneurial skills that many inmates develop, whether from previous life experiences or while inside. They engage in various forms of barter and operate informal markets, using skills that could be transferable to legitimate business activities outside prison 2.

These insights reflect the range of activities inside prisons and how some inmates utilize their time to develop potentially useful skills for their post-incarceration lives.

Prison Labor

Richard discusses the tasks prisoners perform in the prison, such as cooking, cleaning, and working on the farm. He reveals the shockingly low pay rates, ranging from two cents to forty cents an hour, and the implications this has on their ability to afford basic goods. The prices in the prison commissary roughly correspond to outside world prices, but the pay is significantly underinflated.


Richard Davies on Extreme Economies