When you see Road Gangs -

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Star*, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    What do you think about?

    I don't know if they have Road Gangs in any other part of the world, but they do here in SC. It's a privledge to get out of jail and go on a Road Crew to pick up trash on the highway. They have a porta potty on a lawn trailer pulled beind a van that says SC Dept of Corrections. All of the men are in bright orange jump suits and have plastic flip flops and socks on their feet.

    They get pick up sticks and a trash bag and walk along the road picking up litter. It's a treat to get out of jail and be in the sunshine or fog or whatever.

    I saw the young men (sometimes it's women) and there is always a man riding with a rifle in the van pointed at them. I thought of my son. I thought of their Mothers and said a quick prayer because it was like - there for the Grace of God.....and it just really hit me....that could be ANY of our kids. Deservedly sure....but still.

    Just wondered what you thought when you see them.
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I think it's awesome, and a win-win situation.

    We have 'em here, too. You don't see them often, but they are there. orange jumpsuits and all.

    I don't know about the guy with the rifle though. I've missed that! I have seen the port-a-john, though.

    What I meant by win-win - they get out, they get air and sun, a little freedom - we get cleaner roadways. If we are having to pay for housing them anyway... Why not have them earn some of it?
  3. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    We have them here too but not exactly like that. The prison I work at has a minimum security annex and we have several inmates who work on community service crews. These are all very low-risk inmates, trustees, and their supervisor is not armed. They've worked at some of the schools, churches and court houses, and one crew did some work at the senior citizens center near my house. They've also cleared out old cemeteries, etc. And it IS a priviledge to be on one these crews! they are carefully screened and only the best and most trusted get to work on them. Most of the inmates would much rather do this than work in the kitchen, laundry, etc.
  4. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We have them here too, both on the highways and in the communitites. When I pass the ones in the community I usually look to see if I know any of them and sure enough usually I do from difficult child's contacts.

    It makes me sad because while I think it's a good thing it reminds me that they will probably never do much more with their lives.

  5. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Wow! I thought they only existed in the movies! I'm remembering "Cool Hand Luke".

    I want a perfect world in which involved parents raise their healthy children to stay out of trouble. I want a perfect world in which the mentally ill and the addicted are cared for with dignity and compassion. Why would anyone choose to live in jail? That's what I would think if I ever saw a chain gang.
  6. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Three Shadows -

    It's been a while - mmm maybe 20 years since I've seen an honest to gosh chain gang in the black and white striped jump suits with the leg irons working with hand tools along a farm road in the hot FL sun. It could be a thing of the past or it could be that they still exist and we never see them this far North (perhaps Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana). My xBIL was part of it. We drove by and there was three men on horseback - two with guns, and along with about thirty men my XBIL - leg irons and all. It was awful. We drove by and my x threw some cigarettes in the bushes for his brother to get later. I felt like a criminal just being in the car.

    It was something I'll never forget -

    When I saw these boys this morning it made me wonder about their Mothers and I just thought "I wonder how hard their Moms tried to help them stay out of trouble before they finally threw up their hands and just said "You are on your own."
  7. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Mixed feelings...but very generally, I think it has potential.

    Perhaps this type of thing as well as other similar situations where prisoners could help the community can be a positive for prisoners and their communities.

    I don't think I would want to see the road clean up crews out on major roads or out during times when their is heavy traffic. I also wouldn't want to see them out for long periods of time.

    Another notion: the road clean up crew could be a place to start in terms of work and then individuals could work their way up into a more desirable "jobs" where the could learn some skills, etc.

    I could see where training could be provided for the more "desirable" jobs.

    A program like this could be used sort of a way to pay back society...but also a way to start moving forward.
  8. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    We only have community service gangs who pick up trash. I usually think of someone doing something more stupid than dangerous or maybe it was potentially dangerous but they got lucky.

    When I think of your "road gangs" I think of Cool Hand Luke. I also think of the government getting work for free instead of paying someone a decent wage to do an honest job.
  9. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Nearly thirty years ago we had road gangs like this down in rural TN where I lived at the time.

    Twelve shackled men cutting brush, pulling weeds, etc. And, for each 'gang' rode two mounted corrections officers on either horses or mules. Each officer had a pistol, a shotgun draped over a leg, and a scabbarded rifle.

    The men wore the tradition striped outfits.

    I can remember seeing them working in the blazing hot summer sun. There were no 'comfort facilities' provided, but there was a cache of water for each team of inmates.

    I sort of felt it was demeaning, but even in the summer heat, it had to be cooler than the lockups where only the offices were air conditioned. The cellblocks and group areas must've been absolutely stifling.
  10. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Around the state prison that's in our area there are crews of prisoners who do outside work. When I see them I usually think "good for them for working hard enough to earn this privilege."

    Then I check my rearview mirror to make sure no one got loose. :D

  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    We see them around here all the time. They are not chained, are not shackled, sometimes have big tractors to mow the median and side of the roads. Mostly it is stuff that would not get done if the govt had to pay full wages.

    Yes, the govt gets work for cheap. But paying the officers to supervise them, and a supervisor to check their work and train them, is very expensive. It also lets them earn some sunshine and the opportunity to be in a place with-o bars between them and the world.

    They must be trusted and have earned that job.

    My thoughts often go to their parents.

    Sometimes the groups that adopt a mile of highway pay for these crews to come out. Not because they can't get the job done but because it offers more opportunities for the inmates. Part of getting the job in at least one facility is learning how to care for and fix the machinery.

    Yard work is one of the areas where you can still get a lawnmower and put in honest labor mowing lawns with-o telling anyone you have a record. Esp if it is just you. Our sheriff helps newly released inmates by hiring them at normal wages to cut his personal lawn and by encouraging officers and their family/friends to do the same.
  12. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    We see them often around here. I have mixed feelings about it. The ones in our area tend to be the addicts, alcholics, ect who have been caught and are required to do community service as part of their sentences. So far.......I've not seen it have an effect on them in a positive way.
  13. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    I guess my thought was more for the parents of the younger guys I saw yesterday Morning......like US.

    THe men that I saw were in their late teens and early 20's....and it just hit me like - OMG they are Dudes age or Cory's age or thank you's age or Chris's age or Wiz' age, or M's age, or Robs age, or Travis's age, (those of you with girls I didn't see girls) - but my mind wasn't for the young men oddly - it went right to the Moms....and I thought...about.....them.

    It was just weird. Sad. Awful. I don't want to think about OUR kids....out doing that....or there....or not with us. I don't care that they were picking up trash or paying a debt or getting out to be trusted....what got me was - THE MOMS.....how must THEY feel???? UGH. PIT OF THE STOMACH thing.
  14. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Star, I think about the Moms when they get arrested and when they go to trial and later get convicted. I imagine the Moms' denial or horror or rage or sadness or humiliation or all of those emotions combined. I know the ache doesn't end there but it's when my heart breaks the most for them. Rob's experiences as a juvenile were horrific enough. I hope I never know this first hand now that Rob is an adult. (knocking on wood frantically)

  15. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I don't have the Mom's come to mind with the road gangs. But I often do when on the rare occasion I'm watching the news and you see a report on the arrest of a person who is obviously very disturbed. My heart sort of aches for the Mom's.

    We had a case around here just recently. A young couple had an 11 day old baby. Baby was sick and constipated. Dad was supposed to take the baby to the pediatrician doctor. Dad didn't bother because he was too busy playing video games. Evidently baby got worse. Parents got the idea to squeeze the poo out of him literally. Perferated his bowel of course. Baby died. Both parents got 4 years. Jury didn't give them more because they regretted what they'd done and "really loved their baby". When Nichole told me my first thought went to the grandmothers.....OMG!

    I think I don't think like that with the road gangs around here because I know alot of the people on it.....and I know their parents.....and well......for many it is easily understood how they got to be there in the first place.
  16. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Suz -

    That's what I think too. When I watch court room scenes; athough I really try to avoid them at all cost if possible. I see the parents sitting there teary eyed and emotional. It makes me think of the bad times with Dude and Steven. I remember looking at the officers face this last time in court and the judge looking back at the officer as I was sitting there thinking Dude was going to get 11 -30 years and the judge covering the microphone and asking "Is that Mother okay?" Meaning mostly was I having a convulsion or just that upset and shaking. Eventually I got outside, got fresh air, got into my car and thanked God - took a breath and went home exhausted.

    Makes you appreciate being able to reach out and touch your kids sometimes. I know you absolutely know what that means recently. We're still praying for Rob, Heather, Little Rob & Mimi:tongue:.

    Daisy - I USED to know the guys on the gangs - NOW I can say I really don't. PTL..!
  17. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I guess I'm one that looks at it a little differently too because of where I work. Of course, I work in a State prison, not a county jail, and our inmates have all committed serious felonies and have many years to do. Occasionally they will get complaints and calls from people who feel threatened by the presence of inmates working in the community. I feel like telling them, "Hey, these are the GOOD ones! You should see some of the other ones we've got locked up in there!"

    A few of our inmates definately are mentally ill and they get treated. But you will NOT see those guys out on a community service crew. But please don't think that all of them are in there because they are mentally ill. There are many who had good, responsible parents just like you who did everything they could to help them and then it ended badly anyway. I do feel very sorry for those parents. But then there are the rest - and I don't feel one bit sorry for those families! Lots and lots of people in there because they are truely the scum of the earth, especially the gang members. We see the visitors, the families, and in many cases the families (including the mothers) are worse than the inmates are! They're the ones who try to smuggle drugs in, or cell phones, or weapons. Or the women who try to come in and visit dressed like strippers and unleash a string of profanity on our officers because they aren't allowed to come in dressed like that. Or the ones who try to have sex in our visiting gallery right next to other guys' little kids, ministers or grandmothers who are just one table away! We get a lot of those! Or the ones who sit in our parking lot during visitation drinking or doing drugs and then are surprised that they get arrested! Or the ones who try to smuggle in contraband in packages. And there are always the mothers who make phone calls and write letters that their baby couldn't possibly have done THAT! Well, yeah he did too! For some of these people, having relatives in prison is a family tradition, a way of life, and they have never known anything different!
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
  18. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    In TN where I lived years ago, it was the county lockup that ran road gangs. Most of them were in on short-term sentences for drugs, alcohol, domestic violence, etc.