By creating a new performance evaluation group, prison officials have boosted the productivity of death row inmates enrolled in work programs.
Condemned prisoners are rarely allowed out of their cells, and those with work assignments can only perform chores in the death row block. The tasks are mainly custodial, such as sweeping cells, mopping the hallway floors, or emptying trash cans. But despite the simplicity of the jobs, some death row inmates occasionally did sloppy work or skipped their duties entirely—until now.
“Too many inmates were doing a lousy job on their chores,” said a prison spokesman, “so we decided to form a group that would evaluate their work performance and take away jobs from the inmates who weren’t working hard enough. We haven’t come up with an official name for the group yet, but since their sole duty is to fire inmates who are doing a poor job, we refer to them as the ‘firing squad.’ We’re still trying to come up with a real name, but for now that’s what we call them.”
Since the group’s formation, productivity of death row inmates has increased greatly. When a prisoner doesn’t sweep well enough or misses a spot while cleaning windows, he’s told he’ll have to stand in front of the ‘firing squad’ if he doesn’t do better. The mere threat of the new job evaluation group apparently frightens inmates into working much harder.
“It’s amazing,” said one prison guard. “Just the other day I told this big, tough serial killer that I’d haul him to the firing squad myself if he didn’t do a better job of mopping. The guy broke down in tears and got that floor spick and span in no time. I guess he was really worried about losing his job. It’s weird, though. I never knew these guys cared so much about their work assignments.”
But apparently death row inmates do care about their jobs, no matter how menial they are. Several hardened criminals have been seen weeping, praying, and writing sentimental letters to loved ones after being told they were headed for the firing squad following a poor work performance.