78 outstanding warrants cleared in month-long amnesty program

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

BERRYVILLE -- A two-for-one work furlough program is now available at the Carroll County Detention Center.

With the month-long amnesty program over after clearing 74 outstanding warrants, Sheriff Bob Grudek says he'll continue to pick up persons wanted on warrants -- but is building up other programs as well, such as the two-for-one.

It is different from another work furlough program that allows someone sentenced to jail time to continue working while spending their off-working hours in jail.

The two-for-one, he said, is for those sentenced to jail time for non-violent misdemeanor crimes.

"We offer two-for-one," he explained, "meaning everyday they work outside the jail on a public works project, they get two days off their jail time."

Grudek says he coordinates the program with the courts since inmates need court approval to participate.

Already, participating inmates have helped prepare the Carroll County Fairgrounds for the county fair by clearing out a fenceline.

Grudek said he is hoping public works departments in the county's three towns will take advantage of the program.

He said the inmates are diligent workers, not slackers like some community service workers. "They want to do a good job," he explained.

At the fairgrounds, the inmates weren't afraid to get their hands dirty to get the job done, he said, even though they all had to deal with an outbreak of poison ivy afterward.

If any city or county department wants to utilize these inmates to help with projects, Grudek said a supervisor is required, along with refreshments as needed, and a "decent" lunch.

"I want this to be a good experience for both," he said. There are probably 20 eligible inmates at any given time who qualify, he added.

Grudek again stressed that these are persons serving jail time for non-violent misdemeanor crimes and persons who pose no threat to the community.

To expand the program, Grudek said he's also checking into an insurance policy, similar to one used in Washington County for its working inmates. He says it's $7 per person and covers inmates while they are on the job.

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