I am always amazed at how people justify exploitation. The arguments sound so plausible (" I do not believe in chain gangs,or slave labor but what is wrong with prisoners working jobs like everyone else does, to help support them selves. Do you think the taxpayers should support them and expect nothing in return? People who commit crimes are not put in prison to enjoy the luxuries of easy living. "). The issue is that these individuals are not given jobs that provide a decent salary, they are paid a token wage by corporations that profit off their quasi-free labor (read=slavery, or indentured servitude). When they are released, they have nothing to show for all their work--nothing. If we are going to provide jobs and rehabilitation, how about they work for good wages, put some in savings, and pay retribution to the state and their possible victims? At least they would be granted some dignity. As you mention, a good many of them shouldn't even be there, because our justice system is so dysfunctional. This is the 21st century, for crying out loud, we should have abandoned those relentlessly punitive, inhumane 19th century practices a long time ago.