Prison won’t affect tourism negatively

Published 3:08 pm Wednesday, February 28, 2007

After reading Mr. Forest Persons’ letter, I felt compelled to offer my observation. I was also at the public hearing about the prisons being built in Adams County, and I also did not understand all of the negative reactions to the prisons.

We should be offering them anything and everything we can to have both companies locate a facility in Adams County.

Will it affect the tourism industry? With cooperation between the prison industry and the tourism industry, it should enhance the tourism industry.

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If I were employed in the tourism industry, I would be contacting the prison industry to see if we could add the prison to the tours. There are many options. Tourism leaders should explore them instead of trying to hide the prison from everyone.

I also heard the comment that prisoners nowadays are different from those of earlier years. That is a truism.

However, the prison industry nowadays is also different. The prisoners have many programs to occupy their time. They can get an education, learn a trade or carry out court ordered treatment while serving time. There are craft and hobby shops and other activities of which they may take advantage. Prisons now are operating toward rehabilitation of the prisoners.

Yes, there are gangs and gang leaders in prisons. These inmates are known and there are special measures taken to be sure that those energies are channeled in a positive direction. Prison classification systems have advanced tremendously and those inmates who cause problems are isolated from the general population. They are not housed in minimum or medium security facilities.

This is a clean industry. It won’t smell bad. It won’t corrode your car with waste material.

It won’t pollute your air, ground or water. And, it will probably increase property value.

How do I know? I have operated facilities for the city, county, state and private industry in two states.

Please become properly informed about the prison industry before you condemn it. Television shows and movies are fiction, designed to make money. They are not a true depiction of the prison industry.

Adams County has a great opportunity with this facility and we should take advantage of it.

Let’s all work together and make a positive change for Adams County.

Glenn S. Arnold

Natchez resident