Tifton Gazette

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October 20, 2007

Inmates arrive for work detail

TIFTON — The long-awaited prison crew from Moultrie has arrived and begun work in Tift County. For months the Tift County commissioners have talked about and planned to hire a crew to help with clean-up around the county. Commission Chairman Grady Thompson was especially interested in getting additional help with clean-up.

The crew consists of 12 inmates and one detention officer from the Southwest Probation Detention Center in Moultrie. Tift County will provide the van for transportation to and from Moultrie.

The contract between Tift County and the Georgia Department of Corrections states that the county will pay $37,500 per year for the services, not including any overtime pay. The work detail will be for four days a week and 10 hours each day. The crew will not work on state and federal holidays.

According to Tift County Manager Jim Carter, the work detail will clean trash from the roadside, maintain county easements, maintain the ball fields and perform maintenance on county buildings.

Why can’t the county use county inmates for this work?

Col. Jason Jones with the Tift County Sheriff’s Office said inmates at the law enforcement center are used at the sanitation department, the landfill and at the animal shelter. “Those are the big three,” Jordan said. “But we will also send out a detail if we get a specific request.”

“We only use sentenced inmates and those have to go through a screening process to be sure they are suitable,” Jones said. He said they mostly use misdemeanor offenders and some non-violent felons who have committed crimes such as forgery. They do not use an inmate with a history of violent crimes or sexual offenders.

“We want to make sure they are properly supervised,” Jones said. “We have to have a deputy out there with them.”

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