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Wisconsin Prisoners to Farm Worms

The Wisconsin Department of Corrections gained approval of the state Building Commission on November 22, 2000 to construct a $765,000 building at the Oshkosh Correctional Institution to house a "vermi-composting" operation as part of the DOC prison industries program.

Prisoners working in the building will care and feed earthworms to produce highquality fertilizer. Prison officials expect the operation to consume 21 tons of cardboard waste and 48 tons of food scraps (from prison chow halls) annually. State Corrections Secretary Jon Litscher said the prisonrun worm farm would sell breeding stock of worms, along with the high nutrient fertilizer. He said the program would also cut costs of hauling prison waste to landfills.

State Senator Carol Roessler, who serves on the Building Commission, said the new prison industry would have several benefits and no downsides that she can see. She said that Indiana and Minnesota have already successfully undertaken similar projects. Roessler proclaimed the prison worm farm would not compete with private enterprise.

Source: Appleton PostCrescent

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