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  1. #1
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    Post Should TDCJ Inmates get Paid for doing City/County labor?

    San Angelo, TX states that they have saved $1.5 million in the last 7 years by using TDCJ inmates. TDCJ does not pay their inmates for any job, and legally are not required to. But most states do pay something as an incentive, and some of their pay goes to pay for stationary and hygiene which the state now has to pay for if you have no money on your books. Some of the money may also go to victim services as restitution, or for restorative justice. Read more at http://prisonviews.blogspot.comI'd like to know your opinion on this after you read the article, thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by prisonviews View Post
    san angelo, tx states that they have saved $1.5 million in the last 7 years by using tdcj inmates. Tdcj does not pay their inmates for any job, and legally are not required to. But most states do pay something as an incentive, and some of their pay goes to pay for stationary and hygiene which the state now has to pay for if you have no money on your books. Some of the money may also go to victim services as restitution, or for restorative justice. Read more at http://prisonviews.blogspot.comi'd like to know your opinion on this after you read the article, thanks!

    if not get paid for their labor they should at least be fed better and have air conditioning....just my opinion...

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    I'm very familiar with the ever-long debate about TDCJ Inmates and unpaid labor. This topic has been highly debated and discussed across the board. I think overall this topic is highly flawed and the blog that you posted does not look in all aspects but one direction--paying TDCJ Offenders for their work.

    This does not address TDCJ Offenders who do not work because they're enrolled in programs and/or take educational classes. Would they have a fair shot at being fairly compensated for being involved in programs and taking classes? If not, then why would it be fair to those who are not in class or programs work and get paid while they're trying to better themselves and so forth.

    This does not discuss those who are not trustee and have higher custody levels because not everyone, based on their offense and behavior, can not be a trustee. When you come into intake your assigned your custody level based on numerous factors and it can take years before someone comes down on their custody level with good behavior.

    What about the Offenders who are housed at private prisons, State Jails, and ISF who do not receive job assignments to work nor can take classes or programs?

    So, someone who does the bare minimum--work and do nothing versus someone who is going over the top with learning and taking advantage of programs should be compensated? I should go do nothing and get some wages instead of being involved in active in things because that's where the money is not learning.

    Does not discuss the implications of where the funding to pay for TDCJ Offenders would come from. Would this money come from the tax payers in that city? state? or municipality?

    If I'm paying taxes for a TDCJ Offender to do a job then I'm being doubled "taxed." I have to not only pay for a TDCJ Offender to work when I hardly make ends meet but at the same time take care of my husband and his needs who is unable to work because his Unit doesn't do job assignments for the most part--the number of TDCJ Offenders exceeds the available jobs at his unit.

    Last but not least, there's a hustle does not depend if you have commissary money or not. If you have commissary money and are able to go to the store an offender can still hustle. If they don't have money and struggle they can still hustle. In the end, its up to the person and their prerogative of what they want to do inside. Those who have support from family and friends can still hustle and those without support can hustle. I talk to many women whose guy hustles in the insides and its the norm for them. i talk to those who don't.

    A lot are quick to claim that TDCJ Offenders need to be paid but there are so many details and unanswered questions in regards to this that are not address. They just see a city gets unpaid labor and that's not just.

    In my opinion, if you are paying an inmate for work then it should be fair across the board so that inmates who are in school, programs, trade work, and are at private prisons get paid too. It's not just a small percentage.




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    Quote Originally Posted by mrsmitchell View Post
    if not get paid for their labor they should at least be fed better and have air conditioning....just my opinion...
    amen!!
    Mary Lewis-Mosqueda
    Houston, TX


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    If they were paid for their labor, it would help families out because the inmates would have a source of income for their books. It would also be an incentive for them to go to work aside from killing time or completing a program for early release.

    Every other state pays their inmates for working. Heck, I know a guy in CA who actually sends money to his wife to pay the phone bill. That'll never happen here.. dog forbid inmates get treated like real people by TDCJ..

    We rode it out- He's HOME!



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    JP0619 : Thanks for the thoughtful and thought provoking comment! I have responded to you on my blog, please come to read. Thank you very much again!

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    Look at the financial state of California and tell me again how well paying inmates works for them?

    I remember a day when prison was about "paying" a debt to society. Not the other way around.

    I am not against the payment of inmates per se, but if we are going to pay them to be locked up, then those earning money need to be reimbursing the state for housing, food, medical and administrative costs. The idea that prison is like a job brings us to the point where we are now. Some folks go because it is a lifestyle. I think prison needs to be humane, but it surely ought not be a place to get work because of the benefit package!

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    I learned through the grapevine that TDCJ Inmate do get paid for a small percentage of their work: Texas Correctional Industries (TCI) and the Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP). Have you looked into this?!

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    JP0619, few units have TCI shops, and fewer pay. For instance, the garnet factories are considered TCI, yet those workers go unpaid. The few units that have paying TCI shops don't hire a majority of the inmates on the unit. Actually, what you have brought up is a proof against your original argument regarding the unfairness of paying some and not others. TDCJ does this already. I didn't mention it because so few get to be a part of a paying TCI position. So you tell me....why pay these inmates, the pay coming from the budgets of other state, city, and county budgets (they make products that are 'bought' by other government agencies), and not pay those that are also doing a service for the state, cities, and counties?

    MLE

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    ontheroadagain: Their decision to pay inmates was not what wrecked California's economy. Having studied their model I've found errors in their decisions and errors in their pay scale, but it didn't disrupt the economy of California. It's alarmist reactions like yours that keep forward thinking off the table. But I do appreciate the effort and your opinion. I'll try to find a link for you to go and gather more information.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrisonViews View Post
    JP0619, few units have TCI shops, and fewer pay. For instance, the garnet factories are considered TCI, yet those workers go unpaid. The few units that have paying TCI shops don't hire a majority of the inmates on the unit. Actually, what you have brought up is a proof against your original argument regarding the unfairness of paying some and not others. TDCJ does this already. I didn't mention it because so few get to be a part of a paying TCI position. So you tell me....why pay these inmates, the pay coming from the budgets of other state, city, and county budgets (they make products that are 'bought' by other government agencies), and not pay those that are also doing a service for the state, cities, and counties?

    MLE

    I actually learned about the TCI this evening. I never knew it existed until someone told me about it. I have yet to look into it and learn about it so I'm unable to really comment and respond to that.

    Further, there's some sketchiness in regards to the government "buying" items like this and using it. As there was a news article about it and a blog entry on Grits For Breakfast.

    http://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.co...-campaign.html

    That's a little sketchy and not right. In the end, your pointing out the same thing that I stated in my earlier post,

    "
    So you tell me....why pay these inmates, the pay coming from the budgets of other state, city, and county budgets (they make products that are 'bought' by other government agencies), and not pay those that are also doing a service for the state, cities, and counties?"

    My response
    -if they were to pay an inmate make it so all Offenders in the TDCJ System--State Jail Offenders and TDCJ Offenders in all Unit--are able to be paid including those who prefer to take a class, program, or learn a trade and opt out of work.



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    Correct me if I am wrong (and I quite possibly could be) but I remember reading that inmates used to be paid an hourly wage. But, when it was voted to offer the incentive of good time AND work time BOTH counting towards an inmates parole eligibility, the offset was to do away with the hourly wage. The reasoning, as I recall, was that individuals who work while incarcerated would, generally, parole earlier, thereby having the opportunity to earn wages "in the real world," and not at the expense of other government funding, programs, etc.

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    PrisonViews: I really don't think my reaction was alarmist, but frank. California is surely not in trouble because of one or two programs that spend money in a questionable fashion. It is in trouble because of spending money it does not have, including those that pay inmates. Also, I was referring to the State of California and its money issues not the economy there or in general.

    I do believe that the political bodies have a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayer. If the powers that be see the need to compensate felons for their crimes, then I think the State ought to be reimbursed for housing costs to help offset the expense of criminal activities that result in the detention of these members of our society.

    The point that I think you miss is that many, many Americans show up to work each day, live a good honest life, and don't have access to subsidized health care (yet), taxpayer paid for housing and food, and if you had your way, a paid job, complete with pension, benefits and bonuses.

    I know that I am in the minority here when I say that prison is supposed to be punishment, not reform, not rehabilitation, but a denial of freedoms. I am not blind or stupid to the idea that some people wish to project on the American prison system, but I think that prisons are not the problem. Prisons are a symptom of a much larger problem.

    Why are so many people incarcerated? Bad judges? Bad laws? Bad cops? The system? The problem is the breakdown, the literal rot of our society. You can't rehabilitate someone who was raised on the street and has only known that life for 30 years. We spend 20 plus years educating people now when they are young, how many years does it take to teach them to read write and behave in an acceptable way when you have to un-teach 30 previous years of indoctrination?

    If someone lands in prison with say a medical degree, do we pay him the going rate for doctors? If an electrician lands in jail do we pay him the going rate for electrical work? Or plumbers or chefs or general laborers? Who says who gets paid what? Do we fire the existing city/county/state workers to procure the felon worker or just augment?

    There just are not any cost effective ways to compensate felons to replace or augment other government workers or perform work at reduced wages. It has an untended consequence of displacing other non-incarcerated workers and creating an unbalance in the prison system of some inmates being paid and others not.

    I have seen very effective work release programs and/or apprenticeship programs that create permanent work opportunities for many individuals that don't displace non-incarcerated workers and is offered to all inmates meeting certain classification levels. While not universal, is very fair, in that all eligible inmates can apply. This would reduce or eliminate their need for housing, food, and place the onus on them for medical. While not perfect I submit it is preferable to your suggestion of wages.

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    Yes its correct my moms ex husband use to get paid 25cents an hour when he was in prison! Also my brothers friend just got out last year he also got paid the same amount! So I'm guessing its just all depends what unit their at! Cause my bf is at a trusty camp and doesn't get paid! it will be better if all prisons were like that!
    Posted via Mobile Device

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    Rudy: That's how it was sold, you are right. Unfortunately good time and work time mean little in TDCJ and parole.

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    OnTheRoadAgain: Nothing was said about pension, benefits and bonuses, please don't put words in my mouth (or keyboard...)

    My view is to try to find a path that leads not just to offenders benefitting society once they are released (rather than re-offend), but to also bring the highest rate of return on the taxpayer's dollars being spent on TDCJ. They spend $3 bil a year and getting what today? A revolving door? People who become wards of the state the rest of their lives? That's a terrible return on investment. It can be done better. New ideas need to be researched. Thanks for your comments!

    On my personal blog prisonviews.blogspot.com I address these issues more indepth, love to have you come by.

    MLE

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    JP: It's amazing that someone is selling furniture like that isn't it? Everything made at TCI is supposed to be used and sold to government entities, back in the day there was quite a bit of corruption regarding misuse of inmate produced products, and they made laws to change that. Guess someone found a loophole!

    Thanks for the follow up!

    MLE

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    PrisonViews: It was not my desire to make you upset. I did state that I was of the thought, and in making a satirical assumption, that you would be alright with paying inmates "complete with pension, benefits and bonuses".

    But I made my point nonetheless. Lets break it down.

    We both agree that money spent on the prison system does not seem to have the desired effect inasmuch it has become a deterrent to crime. The revolving door as you call it would indicate we both think that people come to prison and return shortly after they get released.

    This has become a culture. A lifestyle for many. They don't know anything else other than prison. The pension is my analogy for this type of behavior. They invest their lives into this system.

    Likewise, the benefits are free medical, free housing, free food, etc.

    The bonuses fit the bill for the extra credit that those in trustee positions often garner and would seem to be something that would only escalate under a plan to compensate inmates.

    I believe in using a bit of humor, a dash of sarcasm and a touch of wit to make my point. I am not always successful.

    Again, I am not calling you names or trying to put words in your mouth. I disagree with you on the idea because I don't see the benefit. Perhaps I am being too harsh, and judgmental because I have not taken the time to review the details of your proposal or investigate your blog on the subject.

    I do agree with you that in the future we are going to have to become a bit more forward thinking on the subject of housing prisoners. The cost. The bloody fact that we are incarcerating large swaths of our population. The cyclical effects we are having on whole generations of Americans living the bulk of their years in jail.

    No we have a problem. A huge problem. It will not be fixed with tinkering around the edges. It will not be fixed by compensating inmates. It starts by raising a new generation to think that jail is not a career, and that they can be successful by gaining a meaningful education and working a productive job.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrisonViews View Post
    JP: It's amazing that someone is selling furniture like that isn't it? Everything made at TCI is supposed to be used and sold to government entities, back in the day there was quite a bit of corruption regarding misuse of inmate produced products, and they made laws to change that. Guess someone found a loophole!

    Thanks for the follow up!

    MLE
    Gald you're excited about it! You seem to have more excitement about this than I! If you have such strong views I suggest that you do more than simply have a blog and an opinion but exercise the ability to work toward change. Some things that seem important enough to try to make change happen are adequate ventilation and air conditioning and heat in Texas Prisons; medical care and quality in Texas prisons; etc.

    Why not fight for Air Conditioning in Texas Prisons? Heat in Texas Prisons? Better medical care in Texas Prisons especially since the cost is now passed down to Family and Friends with the $100 Healthcare Inmate Fee? Helping Family and Friends be able to see their loved ones with TDCJ when they're located far away but finding solutions to put them close by, especially with medical care. Perhaps intensive parole for those with medical problems so that they don't suffer in a prison and can receive the care they need at home? Prison conditions so that the prisons are dirty, filthy, risk of disease, sickness, and weaker health?

    If you're really passionate about it as you claim you are through blogging then try to make it happen by working with TX Legislatures (House & Senate and lobbying and/or working with prison reform groups to see if this can happen instead of trying to post on prison forums in Texas and making people debate and argue about it. That's essentially all that's happening. If you review the jpay forum you will see when we feel that something needs to happen, we come together and find a solution. You know the good ol' fashion go out and make in happen instead of complaining. To me all you are doing is just blogging about it and complaining. You feel like you have all the solutions to inmate being paid for their work--then present them to the people that actually can make change happen and see what they say in return. I'm sure they have concerns, arguments, debates, etc. that can be discussed with you.

    I'm unsure of what you exactly are trying to accomplish except drama, debates, and arguments in a jpay forum. I believe this forum is to help support and encourage one another when our loved ones are inside and receive help and advice. I said all I have to say about this because I'm not here to debate you or anyone else. I come to help people and offer knowledge towards various topics. If you respond to this point you will not receive a response from me because I will no longer open this topic.
    Last edited by JP0619; 09-01-2011 at 12:17 PM.

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    For your argument or debate on the victims compensation:

    Inmate phone time doubled to boost victim compensation revenue
    The Texas Tribune reports that TDCJ inmates would have their maximum phone time doubled under an amendment by Rep. Jerry Madden to HB 1 that would allow up to 480 minutes per month, up from 240.

    The 240-minute cap was expected to raise $7.5 million for the Compensation to Victims of Crime Fund, but only managed to bring in $5 million. Madden said he hopes to see the $7.5 million raised with this new 480-minute cap.

    “This is an easy way to raise more revenue for the state,” he said.

    http://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.co...-to-boost.html


    So, in my opinion it is a community pot if revenues from all our phone calls go toward that.

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    JP: Sorry that I disturbed YOUR J-pay forum...you keep doing the wonderful things you do and I'll keep doing what I do, which is much more than write a blog post every other day or so. The blog is simply a place to exchange ideas, any idea, without personal attacks, exchanging facts, concepts, and opinions.

    You have no clue what I do, so don't assume to. You keep working on AC, I'll keep working on ways to keep people out of prison through restorative justice, and if they are in prison, to being education programs that will begin at the time of entering the system and provide opportunities to keep anyone from coming back. I don't know why you get so upset when someone tries to improve current conditions that you perceive may not effect your particular situation. And in reading other forums I see that I'm not the only one you have attacked for having a view different from yours. Look at the other topics....people want change and want to discuss it. Please let people with different views do so without your attacks, your misguided assumptions, or emotional opinions that are not backed by reliable facts. You are always welcome to disagree, but do so with decorum and respect for the other person's point of view. Thank you.

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    OnTheRoadAgain: Thanks for the explanation of your post, I understand your opinion, and though I don't agree with all of it, it is true that it is the prevailing thought of society, and of the decision makers in govts. There certainly are a number of career convicts, and these folks are not going to change any time soon, and this small % of the whole need warehoused at a lower classification than general pop, and you and I agree they should not be paid until they decide that their thinking is stinkin'! But for the others, I'd just like the benefits to be studied to see if they outweigh the cost. If not, shelve it, but if so, particularly if it brings a better return of investment for the taxpayer, do a study, perhaps using a system that does currently pay and see if the results match the expectation.

    Thanks again, appreciate the exchange of ideas!

    MLE

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrisonViews View Post
    JP: Sorry that I disturbed YOUR J-pay forum...you keep doing the wonderful things you do and I'll keep doing what I do, which is much more than write a blog post every other day or so. The blog is simply a place to exchange ideas, any idea, without personal attacks, exchanging facts, concepts, and opinions.

    You have no clue what I do, so don't assume to. You keep working on AC, I'll keep working on ways to keep people out of prison through restorative justice, and if they are in prison, to being education programs that will begin at the time of entering the system and provide opportunities to keep anyone from coming back. I don't know why you get so upset when someone tries to improve current conditions that you perceive may not effect your particular situation. And in reading other forums I see that I'm not the only one you have attacked for having a view different from yours. Look at the other topics....people want change and want to discuss it. Please let people with different views do so without your attacks, your misguided assumptions, or emotional opinions that are not backed by reliable facts. You are always welcome to disagree, but do so with decorum and respect for the other person's point of view. Thank you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrisonViews View Post
    JP: Sorry that I disturbed YOUR J-pay forum...you keep doing the wonderful things you do and I'll keep doing what I do, which is much more than write a blog post every other day or so. The blog is simply a place to exchange ideas, any idea, without personal attacks, exchanging facts, concepts, and opinions.

    You have no clue what I do, so don't assume to. You keep working on AC, I'll keep working on ways to keep people out of prison through restorative justice, and if they are in prison, to being education programs that will begin at the time of entering the system and provide opportunities to keep anyone from coming back. I don't know why you get so upset when someone tries to improve current conditions that you perceive may not effect your particular situation. And in reading other forums I see that I'm not the only one you have attacked for having a view different from yours. Look at the other topics....people want change and want to discuss it. Please let people with different views do so without your attacks, your misguided assumptions, or emotional opinions that are not backed by reliable facts. You are always welcome to disagree, but do so with decorum and respect for the other person's point of view. Thank you.
    Very well said and with tact. Alot of people get offended when your OPINION differs from theirs and thats just what it is, your opinion. Everyone is entitled to their own and you shouldnt get attacked because your view is different. I see alot of that on here which is why I dont post that much. By the way, I think inmates should get paid for their labor as they do in other states. Lets face it we aint talking a whole lot of money but whatever it is, I feel they should be compensated.

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    This forum does not belong to JP. I agree, personal attacks should not happen. We are all here for a common purpose, and reason. We all have different views and opinion on topics. There is no reason for the personal attacks or to feel like you have been personally attacked. This is why I don't go to other sites, because of this very reason.


    QUOTE=PrisonViews;223650]JP: Sorry that I disturbed YOUR J-pay forum...you keep doing the wonderful things you do and I'll keep doing what I do, which is much more than write a blog post every other day or so. The blog is simply a place to exchange ideas, any idea, without personal attacks, exchanging facts, concepts, and opinions.

    You have no clue what I do, so don't assume to. You keep working on AC, I'll keep working on ways to keep people out of prison through restorative justice, and if they are in prison, to being education programs that will begin at the time of entering the system and provide opportunities to keep anyone from coming back. I don't know why you get so upset when someone tries to improve current conditions that you perceive may not effect your particular situation. And in reading other forums I see that I'm not the only one you have attacked for having a view different from yours. Look at the other topics....people want change and want to discuss it. Please let people with different views do so without your attacks, your misguided assumptions, or emotional opinions that are not backed by reliable facts. You are always welcome to disagree, but do so with decorum and respect for the other person's point of view. Thank you.[/QUOTE]

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    Quote Originally Posted by texascowgirl1962 View Post
    This forum does not belong to JP. I agree, personal attacks should not happen. We are all here for a common purpose, and reason. We all have different views and opinion on topics. There is no reason for the personal attacks or to feel like you have been personally attacked. This is why I don't go to other sites, because of this very reason.


    QUOTE=PrisonViews;223650]JP: Sorry that I disturbed YOUR J-pay forum...you keep doing the wonderful things you do and I'll keep doing what I do, which is much more than write a blog post every other day or so. The blog is simply a place to exchange ideas, any idea, without personal attacks, exchanging facts, concepts, and opinions.

    You have no clue what I do, so don't assume to. You keep working on AC, I'll keep working on ways to keep people out of prison through restorative justice, and if they are in prison, to being education programs that will begin at the time of entering the system and provide opportunities to keep anyone from coming back. I don't know why you get so upset when someone tries to improve current conditions that you perceive may not effect your particular situation. And in reading other forums I see that I'm not the only one you have attacked for having a view different from yours. Look at the other topics....people want change and want to discuss it. Please let people with different views do so without your attacks, your misguided assumptions, or emotional opinions that are not backed by reliable facts. You are always welcome to disagree, but do so with decorum and respect for the other person's point of view. Thank you.
    [/QUOTE]


 

 
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