Ga. inmates' 'free' work has a price

System of prison industries lost $11.5 million over six years

By Bill Torpy
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATLANTA — It's a popular idea in these tough economic times: Take Georgia's 60,000 prisoners, who cost taxpayers more than $1 billion a year to house, and put them to work.

The agriculture commissioner wants to use them to pick crops. One cash-strapped Georgia county wants to use them to fight fires.

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