Prisoners, Boulders, sledge hammers

On a trip back from England I was reading a book and the author described one character who had been sent to prison as being “up state turning big ones into little ones.” The image I presume, being the old cliche of prisoners using sledge hammers to break up boulders.

Did prisoners ever do this? Do they still? What is the purpose?

Prisoners used to be sentenced to hard labor, plus it would keep them busy. The finished product would be used for highways.

They still do that in the future! Arnie got real strong doing it in “The Running Man.”

It’s gotta be true cuz I saw it on TV!