Making license plates is the stereotypical job for a prisoner, but in California’s Central Valley, a group of inmates are doing very different work, supplying milk to almost every prisoner in the state system.
They earn just 35 to 95 cents an hour, but inmates at Corcoran state prison say the job gives them plenty of other benefits.
“I like coming out here to be away from the people in the yard,” Jose Franco tells me. He got locked up for vehicle theft. I watch him move about 20 cows inside the milking building, then gently attach pumps to their teats and start milking. Franco has never worked with animals or agriculture before, but for four months, he’s clocked in here at 4 a.m. every day he can — even though he’s only assigned to work here five days a week.