Prisoners will be doing outside labor

Mon, 03/06/2006 - 9:38am
By: Ben Nelms

A decision Feb. 21 by Union City council members created an outside work program for minimum custody inmates at South Fulton Municipal Regional Jail.

Jail Chief John Mansch said the Public Works Department currently uses department employees for facility and grounds maintenance work that could be accomplished by using inmate labor. Mansch cited other areas in metro Atlanta that successfully utilize inmates for outside work programs, adding that Union City might benefit from a similar program.

Mansch said the program would use only local, short-term inmates. The services they will provide, he said, is expected to provide an additional source of manpower designed to save taxpayers dollars by utilizing the various skills inmates possess.

Potential liability that exists with inmates being outside the jail facility will be addressed by providing supervising personnel with a 16-hour training course and a stringent inmate selection criteria, Mansch said.

Responding to questions about inmate participation, Mansch said inmates will not be forced to enter the program. Such an action would be a disincentive to productive participation, he said. Mansch said the program would likely be well received by inmates because it will provide them with an option to perform work outside their cells. Jail staff expect more inmates will want to work than there will be positions available, Mansch explained.

“This is a good program that is long overdue,” said Mayor Ralph Moore. “It should help mitigate the tax burden on residents.”

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