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Local Inmate Work Programs

NCJ Number
American Jails Volume: 9 Issue: 3 Dated: (July-August 1995) Pages: 67-68,71-72
J W Olin
Date Published
4 pages
The inmate work programs at the Montgomery County Jail in Dayton, Ohio have provided an annual savings to taxpayers of almost $1,000,000, provided services the county could not afford any other way, contributed to inmate rehabilitation and vocational training, and helped reestablish a sense of pride and a work ethic in inmates.
Corrections philosophies and policies have changed over the years. Correctional professionals today feel the need to reflect the attitudes of the public and elected officials. Many inmate work programs have been mandated by State law, local ordinance, or resolution of a board of county commissioners. A majority of the work programs are only symbolic or involve activities that are useless to inmates when released. Some programs involve real cost savings but end due to opposition from local unions. At the Montgomery County Jail, inmates answer all incoming public telephone calls, care for the grounds, perform kitchen and laundry work, maintain the jail library, clean some county buildings outside the jail complex, clean the sheriff's vehicles, and perform community work in the sheriff's prisoner-worker program. Some programs have received extensive media coverage. Coordination with many agencies is essential to the effectiveness of these programs. Overall, the programs benefit everyone concerned and have few negative aspects. The author is the administrator of the Montgomery County Jail. Table and photographs