Colorado Prisons Aim to Have Inmates Produce Biodiesel

Colorado Prisons Aim to Have Inmates Produce Biodiesel

In a move that is sure to upset worker's rights groups, the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) is looking for a partner to refine biodiesel using inmate labor. The DOC already maintains a dairy and a farm, and wants to convert some of its farmland to biodiesel crop production.

The partner in the DOC's biodiesel program will have to pay at least $8 per worker to cover supervision and transportation.

Taxpayers won't have to pay for the program since it is run with funding from the sale of products that inmates make. 

If the program works out, grease recovered from prison kitchens could be used in biodiesel productions.

And despite any potential complaints, the DOC's program wouldn't be giving the workers extra labor— it would just re-allocate their time from working on, say, the dairy farm, to working with biodiesel crops.