Remember when the federal government sent out those “stimulus checks” a few years ago? Remember how they said “we want everyone to be able to afford a flat-screen TV”? Guess that applies to prisoners, too.
The Boston Herald is reporting that the Massachusetts prisoner system spent $76,958 on 117 brand-new high-def TV sets so the gang bangers, rapists, drug dealers, and other dregs of society could watch the Super Bowl in style.
Now technically, they didn’t spend taxpayer money on the sets. Technically. The funding came from the “canteen account” which is funded with profits made from the in-prison store where prisoners can buy toiletries and food. The canteen account is allowed to contain up to $800,000 and is to be used to “benefit inmates.” So where do the inmates get money to spend in the canteen? Relatives and friends can send money in, or… the inmates collect a paycheck for their in-prison jobs like working in the laundry or cafeteria. And those paychecks are paid for by who? Why, the taxpayers. But technically, we’re not paying for the TV sets. Technically.
So while the state of Massachusetts struggles with a $2.5 billion shortfall in this year’s budget, prisoners get HDTV sets.
You know what would “benefit the prisoners” more than blowing $77,000 dollars on HDTVs? Paying the prison’s electric bill. Or water bill. Or the salary for one of the prison’s nurses who put their lives on the line every day to help save the lives of prisoners, some of whom may have gotten into prison for shooting someone during the theft of an HDTV set.