Pueblo Chieftain:

Lobsters, tractor restoration and decoy duck painting are among the newest jobs for Colorado’s prison inmates.

The program is managed by Colorado Correctional Industries.

“We have a staff of 200 and employ 2,000 inmates,” said Steve Smith, Correctional Industries manager. “No tax money is being used. We have to make enough money to pay the staff, the inmates and the infrastructure.”

The managers often plunge into new ventures to keep inmates busy and turn enough of a profit to stay in the black.

Enter the fresh water lobster venture at the tilapia fish farm built behind Arrowhead prison. The highly sought after crustaceans are proving to be more viable than shrimp, so the shrimp have been shucked in favor of the lobster.

“They are heartier than the shrimp and they self-breed so we don’t have to keep ordering in stock,” Smith said. “We will sell them to staff or Whole Foods, which is very enthusiastic about Colorado proud products.”