Alabama farmers should utilize work-release inmates if they are seeing labor shortages from state's new immigration law, agriculture commissioner says

MONTGOMERY, Alabama , October 10, 2011 () – Alabama's agriculture commissioner, John McMillan, is suggesting farmers look at work-release inmates if they are experiencing labor shortages due to Alabama's new immigration law.

Some farmers have complained that Hispanic workers who traditionally harvested their crops have left and they can't find replacement workers.

A spokesman for the Department of Corrections says there are 2,300 inmates in the work-release program and they are available for all types of jobs, including farming. But spokesman Brian Corbett says the department can't attribute any increase in work-release jobs to the immigration law so far.

McMillan says he's talking with officials from the governor's office, Department of Corrections, and Department of Industrial Relations to find short-term and long-term solutions to farm labor problems.

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