Freed prisoners receive money

Economy - In prison there is 25 francs daily wage

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Whether in the workshops or on their own farm: all prisoners in Bellechasse prison have to work. They receive 25 francs per day. But only if the performance is right.

Author: Marcel Sigrist, Véronique Amstutz

Michaël Heinis will soon be released from the Bellechasse prison (FR). He currently works in the prison joiner's workshop and makes cows which he glues onto wooden panels for three-dimensional landscapes. The prison sells the handicrafts directly to visitors and via the Internet.

Heinis receives a wage of 25 francs per day. He is free to dispose of over two thirds of this and thus finances his living conditions somewhat better. “Television costs 1 franc a day, as does computer access. We have to pay 5 francs a week to do our laundry, ”he says.

15 percent of the daily wage is blocked. A prisoner receives this money when he is released. 20 percent of the daily wage serves as compensation for victims, to support the family of a delinquent and to pay legal and legal costs.

No chicane

Prison director Franz Walter emphasizes that the duty to work is not about harassment, but about giving the prisoners a daily structure.

“They can also gain some professional experience and save some money,” says Walter. However, no employment contracts are concluded here between inmates and prison management. “With a normal employment contract, both signatories are free to choose. But if a prisoner doesn't work here, he can't say, release me immediately, I don't like to work. This is special in the penal system, ”says Franz Walter.

In prison, an inmate is not retired either. Prisoners over 65 receive the AHV, but the obligation to work still exists. One then looks for appropriate positions for these older inmates. And that would also be very much appreciated, says the prison director.

Reduction of wages possible

In addition to the closed department, Bellechasse also has a farm that supplies the institute with meat, vegetables and grain. Only a small part is sold to third parties. One does not want to expose oneself to the suspicion of competing with commercial providers with dumping prices.

The whole thing is not profitable. “But it is worth something for someone who is getting back on track. I don't know how much. But you should take that into account, ”says Claude-Alain Chevalley, who is responsible for grain production.

If you don't perform well, your daily wage can also be reduced once. "If I see a prisoner working poorly in the morning, for example, I can deduct one, two or three francs from the 25 francs," says Chevalley. Conversely, a prisoner receives allowances if, for example, he works extra hours for the harvest or is willing to work over the weekend

Bellechasse is definitely no ordinary company. Not least because here the “employees” are happy when they are dismissed.

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  • Comment from Daniele Röthenmund ([email protected])
    I want to put it up for discussion here. Why don't we get rid of the nonsense with the life sentence, that is only really carried out in very few cases! I am in favor of a big change in criminal law. Instead of imposing a maximum punishment as before, but a minimum punishment, that means, if someone is sentenced to 3 years, he will only be released after 3 years at the earliest, if you do not see any positive changes, will the prison term be extended?
    Agree agree to the comment
  • Comment from Daniele Röthenmund ([email protected])
    Very good idea that I think is even expandable. Why shouldn't a prison also do jobs that compete on the free market, dumping prices should be taboo. If these people were free, they would also have to prove themselves on the free market! I've always been in favor of a penal system that knows different types of prison, how better a prisoner behaves, how better he should be.
    Agree agree to the comment

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