I respond to a recent letter stating that prisoners should work at manual labor on farms, or whatever, to pay for their keep (Readers' Forum, July 27). The assertion was that this is not happening because prisoners are lazy.

I have been a volunteer at the prison for more than four years. There are jobs at the prison at which prisoners work (mostly for 40-cents an hour) to purchase amenities such as renting a television set. Working at these jobs is a privilege and held in high esteem by prisoners. Prisoners have proposed establishing a farm on prison grounds so they can be self-sufficient — something I am convinced is not only doable but would be met with genuine excitement by prisoners.

My observation is that the laziness of the prisoners is not the issue. The issue has more to do with promoting greater innovation in the system. I also believe that the current administration at the prison is forward-looking and, with encouragement and support, may consider such innovation.

Don L. Wright