Probably the biggest surprise when Wisconsin Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos gave me a tour of his Burlington popcorn business was the female inmates working there.It's not surprising that Boss Vos would support this. In his twisted worldview, it's a win-win-win scenario.
I visited RoJo's Popcorn for a story on Rep. Vos' small businesses, which consist of the Burlington popcorn-processing and packaging plant and south side Milwaukee retail and online shop Knight's Popcorn.
At the time, Vos told me he used to oppose a corrections-system-to-work transitional jobs program, but in recent years had retained temporary workers from a women's correctional facility in Racine County at his Burlington business. He also employed a former inmate from the program at his retail shop.
I was reminded of my visit with Vos Friday when I read a Wisconsin State Journal article that Vos wants to expand prison work-release programs in Wisconsin. He told the State Journal that recent experiences at his factory changed his mind about "how we get people back to work."
He gets to exploit prisoners who work for next to nothing, he gets to use taxpayer dollars for their healthcare and he has an operation to help cover his graft.
Coincidentally, another RoJo - US Senator Ron Johnson - had the same profiteering business scheme:
Republican Senate candidate Ron Johnson, who has campaigned against government subsidies to business, employs up to nine prison inmates at his plastics factories whose health care costs are paid by the state, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.Isn't it quite convenient that these reprobates keep finding laws that are supposed to be for the good of the community but seem to be even better for their wallets?
Public records show that Pacur Inc. and Dynamic Drinkware LLC, two companies run by Johnson, employ up to nine inmates at a time through a state Corrections Department jobs program.
Johnson's companies offer private health insurance to the regular employees at the Oshkosh factories. But Melissa Roberts, an executive assistant with the Corrections Department, said the companies don't have to cover the inmate workers. "The benefit is that they don't have to pay health benefits," she said.