This is not a unique story — it happens in other places. This is the place I know something about… I lived there thirty-seven years and watched the problem develop.
Once upon a time Jefferson City’s Capitol Avenue neighborhood was a showplace of nice homes with mixed architectural styles. This was where the Barons of (prison) Industry built their homes…within walking distance of the Missouri State Penitentiary where the inmates worked in their factories making shoes and other products of the late 19th century. This was an era when prisons were considered commercial enterprises with a large cost free, or nearly free, labor force. It was not unusual for inmates to be rented out for construction work in the city. Sometimes this was public work, like heavy-duty road building or excavation, but sometimes for private projects. Having a large inmate labor force was beneficial to Jefferson City…
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