Published: Aug 16, 2010 11:00 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 16, 2010 5:25 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - A decision to eliminate 71 of the roughly 180 prison work squads around the state, is not sitting well with some taxpayers.

"They did the crime, they are doing the time, and they should work along the road, to pay for their upkeep" said Carolyn Nielsen of northern Collier County.  "It is a modified chain gang, and it is good for them to pay their debt to society."

Lawmakers cut money from the Corrections Dept. budget last spring, and those cuts included: chopping out 71 of the work crews.   Those cuts include:    eliminating 3 crews in Lee County, and cutting out squads in Charlotte as well.

"I don't like it.  I think work dignifies people and gives them self-esteem," said Gary Wilde of Bonita Springs.

Rep. Matt Hudson of Collier said:   legislators had to cut money from every state agency, and he pointed out, some people argue, the prisoner work crews might compete with private business.   "I believe we may have created some jobs for the private sector, by eliminating some of the work crews," he told WINK News.

Cutting out the 71 crews saves about 4-million dollars  a year, that was paid to transport and supervise the inmates, while they pick up trash or cut tall grass along roadsides.