Fully agree with your point about the criminal "justice" system's misguided focus on punishment rather than redemption. And I'm heartened to hear you express support for the concept of sheriff's deputy pensions being used to pay for inmate rehabilitation even though you think they make minimum wage, because this suggests that when you learn how much they actually make, you will have even more reason to support their bearing the costs of helping the people whose wrongful incarceration provided the reason for their jobs in the first place recover from this injustice!
Sheriff's deputies may have made minimum wage once upon a time, but if that is still true anywhere in the United States (which from my reading I rather doubt), it certainly is not true here in the Bay Area.
According to a 2011 Contra Costa Times story, sheriff's deputies in that county were paid the least among their counterparts in the 9-county region. And how much was that? $81,504 per year after 5 years on the job! That's base pay which "does not include shift differential or other special pay such as uniform allowances or extra cash for additional training or other assignments."
It's a pretty safe bet that the salary number quoted above has if anything only increased during the past four years (unlike in the voluntary sector, budget cuts -- actual cuts, not just reductions in the rate of increase! -- are rare in government, and when they do happen, they rarely lead to employee pay cuts).
Now contrast that $80K+ per year being paid to the people whose most basic job responsibility is making sure that prisoners, including of course the many incarcerated people who never harmed anyone and should never have been jailed, do not escape to freedom, with the money those inmates earn from working while incarcerated.
For instance, this 2014 story reports that around 4,000 California inmates were being paid $2 per day for the dangerous work of fighting wildfires:
I'll bet the prospect of having money taking out of their pensions to pay for prisoners to transition back to society would make prison guards less eager to see more people incarcerated.
Love & Liberty,
((( starchild )))