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        Prison Town, USA: Economic Decision Making

        This lesson plan is designed to be used in conjunction with the film Prison Town, USA, which tells the story of a small town (Susanville, California) that tries to resuscitate its economy by hosting a prison. This lesson explores factors that influence economic decision making at both the individual and community levels.

        Prison Town, USA: Job Opportunities in Susanville, California (Clip 1 of 3)

        In this first clip associated with the Prison Town, USA lesson plan, job prospects in Susanville, California are shown to be dire. Working at the prison is one of the few options left for Susanville residents. Students should discuss the issues that affect the employment decisions by the characters in the clip.

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        Prison Town, USA: Frank Ferris (Clip 2 of 3)

        In the second clip associated with the Prison Town, USA lesson plan, Frank Ferris, a fifth-generation rancher living in Susanville, explains that ranching can't sustain his family. For the past 22 years he's been working as a correctional officer in the prisons. Students should think about the factors they use to choose their own jobs, and compare the factors that Frank is basing his decisions on.

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        Prison Town, USA: Economic Impact of Prisons (Clip 3 of 3)

        In the third clip associated with the Prison Town, USA lesson plan, the economic impact of the prison in Susanville is assessed by residents. The prison originally supported local businesses, but now the prison wants to take their business away from the local dairy business. Residents talk about the changes in Susanville since the prison came to town. Students should create an argument either for or against bringing a prison to town.

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