Prisons. Prisoners. Manufactured housing.
There are already points of intersection. Can – and should – there be more?
Can the factory-built housing industry and the penal system each benefit by developing deeper ties with the other? Can that be accomplished profitably?
The private and public sides of the U.S prison system costs the nation some $80 billion dollars annually, per data fact-checked by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
As their data charts shown below reflect, much of that spending is at the state and local level.
That makes the ‘prison industry’ – both private and public sectors combined – roughly 14 times larger than new manufactured housing sales calculated at the retail level.
Prisons & Factory Building – Points of Intersection?
There are already some state-based efforts by manufactured housing association executives to see how prison labor might be used to ease the demand for labor in factories.
There are also examples – such as the state of Michigan’s penal system – where prisoners are building components that are being used by factory-built and other housing companies.
But are there more opportunities for the two industry’s to develop mutually beneficial relationships?
U.S. Penal System Reform
There’s a growing bipartisan agreement that the penal system in America needs to be reformed.
With some sources estimating that there are 2.3 million Americans living behind bars – some say, the largest percentage of a population anywhere in developed world who are living incarcerated – there are several areas that with strategic vision, planning, and action could develop into billions of dollars in factory-built home industry opportunities.
Let’s float some ideas that a private or public prison system could explore, test, refine, and implement.
Forget prison cells, and dormitories.
Say hello instead to prisons where inmates live in a single-section manufactured homes, behind a walled town that also produces HUD Code manufactured and/or modular homes, as well as components for the building trades.
Used for those inmates who are properly screened – say, non-violent and other low-risk offenders – consider these bullets:
1) More humane incarnation,
2) Lower cost for manufactured homes (MH) than for building prison cells in many jurisdictions,
3) If a prisoners’ family wishes to do so, let them live with the inmate,
4) this could yield prisoners who are less likely to become institutionalized,
5) inmates are learning an honest skill they can use once outside, and
6) if they become a repeat offender, they could be screened out of this single-family housing program in the future.
With so many locked up, this might prove to be a smarter way to advance for tens of thousands of inmates. With the shortage of housing labor, this could also create opportunities for both the MH Industry and penal system.
As noted, some prisons here and abroad are already testing elements of similar concepts.
Are there issues to navigate?
Yes, as the previous Daily Business News article linked below outlines, there are pros-and-cons that should be considered, and by doing so, the best possible approaches could be devised.
Two Closing Notes
With millions still out of work, how can there be a ‘shortage?’
The entire issue of the so-called shortage of labor in U.S. needs to be seen as an indictment of a failed educational, and welfare system.
A manufactured housing state association executive has told MHProNews that drug and alcohol addicted applicants and workers are part of the problem faced by employers, including those in manufactured housing and production. Significant numbers who apply simply don’t qualify, or are too addicted to hold a job. Furthermore, when living off the state/federal largess is about the same – or better paying than – working in a factory, “why work in the factory?” that state association executive said.
It is also an indictment on our educational system to the extent that many schools drifted away from providing opportunities to learn skilled trades. Not everyone is going to be college bound. Why isn’t more being done to develop skills in the years before and during high school?
Manufactured housing advocate, the Rev. Donald Tye has told MHProNews that how education is performing often contradicts the principles of good education. That’s a view held by others leaders, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. described education.
Manufactured housing and prison connections are one of those mid-to-longer term projects the industry should develop.
Why not? “We Provide, You Decide.” ## © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)
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Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.
Soheyla is a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC the parent company to MHProNews and MHLivingNews.