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Republican candidate for governor Carl Paladino said he would transform some New York prisons into dormitories for welfare recipients,

At these dormitories, the people would work in state-sponsored jobs, get employment training and take lessons in “personal hygiene.”

Paladino, who is popular with many tea party activists, is competing for the Republican nomination with former U.S. Rep. Rick Lazio. The primary is Sept. 14. He first described the idea in June at a meeting of The Journal News of White Plains and spoke about it again this week with The Associated Press.

“Instead of handing out the welfare checks, we’ll teach people how to earn their check. We’ll teach them personal hygiene … the personal things they don’t get when they come from dysfunctional homes.”

Throughout his campaign, Paladino has said New York’s “Rich Menu” of social service benefits encourages illegal immigrants and needy people to live in the state. He has promised a 20 percent reduction in the state budget and a 10 percent income tax cut if elected.

New York receives a federal block grant to provide cash and other forms of welfare to very low income residents. Federal law already requires welfare recipients to do some form of work to receive benefits, but Paladino believes it is not an effective enough measure.