I think we should send them to the military
Egads, man- don't do the military favors like that!!!
Few miles up the road from me is the State Industrial Farm. The inmates there grow food used in all the state prisons, as well as state hospitals, etc. They also make furniture for state facilities, rebind books for libraries, repair state vehicles, make bricks, etc ad nauseum. The clothing shop used to make police uniforms for the State.
Inmates would RATHER work than sit in a cell and stare at the walls. Ones in the Super-Max high security prison get out of the cell 1 hour a day.
Unfortunately, for many, it is not lack of education or job skills that put them in the slammer. It was lack of judgement or lack of morals. Easier to kick the door of someone's house and steal their TV than to work on a paving crew raking asphalt, or sell crack on the corner instead of swinging a hammer.
BTW, there have been inmate Forest Fire crews around for ages.