Chevron's Alcatraz

Chevron may be merging with Texaco, but it recently sought a much more unlikely partnership with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. In an August letter -- obtained by Mother Jones and excerpted below -- the oil company proposes converting its "uneconomic" offshore drilling platforms into high-security cell bocks. George Steinbach, Chevron's decommissioning project manager, enthusiastically terms his proposal a "recycling opportunity."

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But in an interview with the magazine, David Dorworth, chief site selector at the Prison Bureau, was quick to torpedo the idea. "Ever since the movie Waterworld," he says, "we seem to be getting an inordinate number of these suggestions. The bottom line is: Island-type facilities are not cost effective, they're not safe, and they're not practical. All these issues," says Dorworth, "contributed to Alcatraz being closed."