Prisoners Will Watch Super Bowl on 177 Snazzy New Big Flat Screen High-Definition TVs! (I'm Speechless!!!)

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Thu, 01/29/2009 - 6:16pm.

While state employees face layoffs, one state is spending thousands of dollars to ensure prison inmates can watch the Super Bowl from 117 brand new high-definition, flat-screen televisions!

Massachusetts' overcrowded prison system has already shelled out $76,958 for the new sets this month, the Boston Herald reports.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Diane Wiffin said the TVs will be placed in all common areas of all Department of Correction prisons before the nation's transition to digital TV.

Worcester County Sheriff Guy Glodis recently confiscated TVs from the Worcester County House of Correction. He told the Herald he is mystified by the amount spent on the expensive sets.

"It sends the wrong message when they're asking sheriff offices throughout the state to cut at least a million out of our budget," Glodis said. "I would argue there are other things you can spend the money on that are more conducive to rehabilitation."

According to the report, even inmate advocates protested the expenditures, pointing out that most inmates have personal televisions in their own cells and do not need pricey sets in common areas.

"What are they thinking?" asked Leslie Walker, director of Massachusetts Correctional Legal Services.

Walker said the extravagant purchase illustrates a need for greater oversignt of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections. State Rep. Kay Khan, D-Newton, has already urged for a commission to supervise DOC spending.

Wiffin told the Herald that the department assembled a committee in December 2007 to ease the prison's transition from analog to digital television.  Rather than purchasing standard converter boxes for $40 to $80, prison officials and other members chose to buy the luxury TVs.

Meanwhile, inmates were given converter boxes for their cell television sets.

According to the report, the DOC bought two different kinds of flat-screen TVs: 32-inch LG brand plasmas and a 26-inch Sharp LCDs.

The average cost for each television was approximately $649.

Wiffin told the Herald the sets were "modest" and not purchased at the expense of taxpayers.

Inmates are given lists of toiletries and food items they may purchase. Proceeds from sales are collected into a canteen fund that can reach up to $800,000, she said. The money is used to benefit prisoners, and the DOC must approve purchases of more than $1,000.

According to the report, Massachusetts is currently struggling with a $2.5 billion shortfall in its budget and is anticipating a $4 billion shortage for next year.

Steve Kenneway, president of the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union, told the newspaper there are more efficient ways to spend the canteen funds when the state is in crisis.

"I think you can find a better use for $77,000 than to go out and buy TVs for guys who are used to stealing them," he said.

Several readers began posting the following responses as soon as the report was released:

  • How about putting that $800,000 "canteen fund" money into the "taxpayers fund" for pay back. We pay for the criminals to enjoy, bed, food, healthcare, etc., at our expense. Any profits should go back to the taxpayers!
  • How do I get a room there?
  • The correctional officers are probably facing layoffs, pay freezes and increased contributions to their medical benefits, but hey, let's buy these convicts flat screen TVs, so when they are enjoying their free meals, room and board, medical and dental plans they can enjoy digital TV. What a waste.
  • Perhaps a better use of the $77k would be to pay back victims of their crimes. What's next for these bums, recliners for their cells?
  • It's not your money paying for this... it's their families' money. Unless you're a member of one of their families, you have no right to complain.
  • Most of you people wouldn't vote a Democrat out if they closed your local schools and gave the inmates tickets and round trips to the Super Bowl. In fact, I hope they do that. We deserve it.

January 28, 2009 - source WorldNetDaily

Unfreakin'real!  Post your thoughts on this one! ~ S.I.A.

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Thu, 01/29/2009 - 6:16pm.