Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-24-2016, 01:53 AM
chacoguy chacoguy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Durango, CO
Posts: 3,650
Chain Gangs in America

Are there any Chain Gangs operating in America?

I'm asking about convicts that are physically chained together and performing some menial task like breaking rocks or picking up litter.

I know such gangs exist to work together, my question is about the actual chains.
  #2  
Old 07-24-2016, 03:52 AM
Miller Miller is online now
Sith Mod
Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Bear Flag Republic
Posts: 42,551
Quote:
Originally Posted by chacoguy View Post
Are there any Chain Gangs operating in America?

I'm asking about convicts that are physically chained together and performing some menial task like breaking rocks or picking up litter.

I know such gangs exist to work together, my question is about the actual chains.
Wikipedia says only in Maricopa County, Arizona, and only if the prisoner volunteers - working a chain gang can get time taken off your sentence
  #3  
Old 07-24-2016, 08:26 AM
enipla enipla is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Colorado Rockies.
Posts: 11,587
Not a chain gang, but prisoners in the county I work for are regularly used for maintenance tasks around county buildings. Raking leaves and other outside maintenance.

They are not supervised by officers and are directed by people in our building and grounds department. I suspect they are non-violent offenders doing a short stint for DUI or whatever.

Maybe it's part of the sentence. Community service. I don't know.
  #4  
Old 07-24-2016, 07:29 PM
darazusa darazusa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 11
look up sheriff joe arpaio's chain gang.
  #5  
Old 07-24-2016, 10:16 PM
Cub Mistress Cub Mistress is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Middle Tennessee
Posts: 3,185
I have not personally seen a chain gang in real life in over 45 years. I remember my daddy pointing out a chain gang that was literally chained together doing some sort of road work in Mississippi when I was under 13 or so. It made quite the impression on me! I often see groups of inmates picking up trash along roads but they are not chained together. A supervisor, usually a sheriff's deputy, is supervising.
  #6  
Old 07-25-2016, 08:14 AM
leahcim leahcim is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 3,484
Quote:
Originally Posted by enipla View Post
They are not supervised by officers and are directed by people in our building and grounds department. I suspect they are non-violent offenders doing a short stint for DUI or whatever.
I've seen ones where they are made to wear orange coveralls that say "drunk driver" in big letters on the back as a "scare 'em straight" measure for people seeing them from the road.

Still no actual chains, though.
  #7  
Old 07-25-2016, 09:35 AM
campp campp is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 2,827
I saw one of Joe's chain gangs near my house. I took a picture of it. It was several women picking up trash in a vacant lot.
  #8  
Old 07-25-2016, 09:59 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: rhode island
Posts: 37,457
There were a few efforts to create new chain gangs in the past few years. Actually steel cable gangs I think. Public outcry ended the efforts as I recall. The image of the brutal chain gangs from the past are still in people's minds. Brutal not just on the job, but part of a brutal practice of prison labor camps that became well known through the book and movie I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang. I think there are plenty of prisoners who would prefer to get out and do some work strung along a steel cable if the conditions weren't awful, but even then the public is not going to like the idea. There are highway crews, but the prisoners aren't chained in any way, and as a result the prisoners eligible because they aren't dangerous or likely to escape is limited. Maybe limited to people who don't really need to be in prison anyway.
  #9  
Old 07-25-2016, 12:37 PM
MacLir MacLir is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 543
Where I live, it's pretty much the same as the other posters; a group with orange coveralls and a supervisor/guard. Not even that noticeable, since the Adopt-a-Highway groups wear orange safety vests. There's a roundabout not far from my house that has signs saying that it's maintained by the Sheriff's Department work details.
  #10  
Old 07-25-2016, 12:58 PM
beowulff beowulff is online now
Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Scottsdale, more-or-less
Posts: 14,964
Quote:
Originally Posted by campp View Post
I saw one of Joe's chain gangs near my house. I took a picture of it. It was several women picking up trash in a vacant lot.
Iíve seen a menís chain gang on Cave Creek Rd.
He really makes a publicity stunt of it, with signs advertising whatís going on.
  #11  
Old 07-25-2016, 07:20 PM
campp campp is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 2,827
Quote:
Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
Iíve seen a menís chain gang on Cave Creek Rd.
He really makes a publicity stunt of it, with signs advertising whatís going on.
Remember the giant pile of garbage that his chain gangs picked up and was proudly displayed? With a sign? Parked right in the middle of two of the biggest freeways in Maricopa where they merge? And caused a bunch of rubber-neck accidents because, you know, Joe!
  #12  
Old 07-28-2016, 06:14 AM
DesertDog DesertDog is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Mesa, Ariz.
Posts: 3,360
Quote:
Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
Iíve seen a menís chain gang on Cave Creek Rd.
He really makes a publicity stunt of it, with signs advertising whatís going on.
Nothing happens in the MCSO unless it gets Arpaio publicity. That's why he pulled deputies out of the department investigating child-molestation cases (leaving more than 4,000 of them undone) and added them to the task force raiding Guadalupe, looking for those pesky illegal immigrants in a town where most of the residents are descended from Yaqui Indians who arrived around 1900.
  #13  
Old 07-29-2016, 11:10 PM
garxie garxie is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 5
I once saw a chain gang while going through the Deep South. But that was about 60 years ago.
  #14  
Old 07-30-2016, 06:25 AM
Jackknifed Juggernaut Jackknifed Juggernaut is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Lenni Lenape Land
Posts: 5,336
Interesting. Considering how ubiquitous they were in movies, I assumed that they would have been quite common.
  #15  
Old 07-30-2016, 07:59 AM
garxie garxie is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 5
I was just passing through the Deep South at the time so they may have been common there back then. I grew up in southeast Texas and I never saw any there. What we had in Texas to control work gangs was a guard with a rifle, sitting on a horse. If someone tried to escape he would just chase them down with his horse and shoot them if necessary.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:35 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017