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Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014

Inmates now used to pick up trash on county roads

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Scott County

BENTON -- Some Scott County roads are a little cleaner thanks to some work from some county jail inmates.

During their regular meeting Tuesday, county commissioners said Scott County Jail inmates picked up trash along some stretches of the county's roads for the first time Monday.

"We had our first inmates picking up trash for the highway department," Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn said. "We're very excited over doing some more with them and they were excited about working for the county."

Ziegenhorn said the inmates appreciate the opportunity to "work some of their energy off."

"The first time we used them was here at the courthouse putting some blacktop down and doing some work here," said Harlan Duncan, road and bridge department supervisor. "This is the first time that we have had them out in the county on that type of work and it worked out really well."

Commissioners are happy with the implementation of their plan to use inmates for county work so far but hope to expand the program so they can reduce sentences for inmates who participate.

"That way we save the county money and get a lot of jobs done that we need to have done around the county," Ziegenhorn said.

The inmates would have worked even longer Monday but the weather started to get bad, according to Commissioner Jamie Burger.

Ziegenhorn said on future rainy days inmates could work at the highway department shop cleaning equipment and doing repairs.

While working on the county roads picking up trash Monday, the inmates were supervised by two members of the county jail's staff.

"It really worked out good. We had a lot to pickup and they had it done before noon," Duncan said. "I feel like it should have been done before now because we can really use those guys to clean the county up -- and they were very happy to get a chance to do that."

He said his opinion is based both on him being the highway supervisor and a concerned taxpayer.

County officials intend to start using jail inmates other places around the county where trash is bad and get those places cleaned up with inmate help, Burger said.

"We want to get to where we can get more inmates out doing this type of work so the number of guards per inmates ratio would be less to make it more efficient," he said.

"I'm very excited about it -- it's a great program and I'm looking forward to seeing it to do more in the future," Ziegenhorn said.

He said county residents who have discussed the program with him are "pleased that we're using inmates" and that he has received "very positive" comments on the program.