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Back From the Farm
So I spent yesterday morning at Lane County's Forest Work Camp for our End of Timber Payments show. It was a packed hour, so we couldn't get into all the details of the camp, but there are some fascinating details.
This is a 100-bed county jail facility full of parole violators, drug and DWI offenders, and other low-risk inmates. But as you pull up ? after a breathtaking, ridge-hugging 40-minute drive southwest of Eugene ? you don't see a fence, or a guard tower, or really any kind of external security to keep inmates in. Instead you see a composter, a few greenhouses, a chicken coop, and a fruit tree orchard. You see, in other words, a farm.
I left with two big impressions, one flippant and one depressing. First, if I do end up convicted of a low-level crime (and am judged an appropriate fit for a minimum security lockup), I can't think of any place I'd rather be. And second, the mood among the impressive and passionate guards at the camp isn't great: after many years of funding scares and last-minute saves, there's a general feeling that perhaps no savior is waiting in the wings this time around.
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