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The Arch on North Campus of the University of Georgia. (Photo/Kyle Nadler)

The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is in the process of transitioning out of a 20-year partnership with the state to use inmate labor at a south Georgia research farm, Laura Perry Johnson, CAES associate dean for extension, said in an email Friday.

The decision comes about a month after students called on UGA to end its relationship with the Georgia Department of Corrections at the Vidalia Onion and Vegetable Research Center. Johnson said in a June 12 email the college was “currently evaluating the merits of this program.”

“We are respectful of the opinions of some of our students and have decided to investigate alternative sources of labor. Although this will be more costly to the University of Georgia, we think it is for the best,” Johnson said in an email Friday.

This is a developing story. Check back at for updates.

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(1) comment


This is ridiculous! I think the university is doing this only to be PC. So if inmates are incarcerated should they then be paid to do work? The State of Georgia and taxpayers are already paying for them to be housed, fed, and for medicine. In the current climate more than ever people should be trying to be better people and contribute to society. This university is giving inmates (a few lucky ones) a chance to work. If you were an inmate would you take the chance to contribute to something or rot in a cell? Seriously, if they just let white inmates go and work the same argument would be made...why are we not letting all races help? The truth is we people have to have some dignity knowing the contribution they make matters to society. What value does a man rotting away in prison taking up taxpayer dollars have to society? Nothing... I believe they should allow for more prisoners to do this and make it voluntary for them. Let the prisoners decide if they want to contribute and I bet you will find they in fact do want to go to work and probably would fight at the chance to go! The puritans believe work is gift from God and the reason is it gives someone's life meaning. Isn't that why all of you went ot college, to become something? Why take that away from a prisoner? What little they can contribute matters...if they can contribute, let them!

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