Inmate Ag Labor Program Cut Has Pueblo Farmers Worried

Some Pueblo County farmers are worried they'll lose a source of workers if an inmate labor program is phased out.

The Pueblo Chieftain reports local legislators joined farmers Friday in a meeting to discuss the Colorado Correctional Industries reducing its Offender Labor Program by 21 percent this year.

CCI Director Dennis Dunsmoor says the program will end eventually as workers are not learning skills that are helpful when they are released.

Farmer Don Genova says workers learn responsibility and other skills, not just how to pick pumpkins.

Farmers expressed concern that 10 out of 17 local contracts have yet to be renewed. Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Rod Slyhoff said farmers shouldn't have to wait until now to know if their contracts will be approved.