U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Putting Intermittent Prisoners to Work: A New Look at an Old Ideal

NCJ Number
American Jails Volume: 10 Issue: 1 Dated: March/April 1996 Pages: 43-45
L S Fischer; R Martone
Date Published
3 pages
The Broome County Sheriff's Office's (New York State) Intermittent Prisoner Work Program for "weekend" inmates is a work program that in 1994 produced more than 7,000 hours of inmate labor for the community and just over $41,000 in direct security costs.
At the time the program was started, the Broome County Jail, a medium-sized jail, was overcrowded. There was little or no room to house intermittent or "weekend" inmates. Under the Intermittent Prisoner Work Program, judges and magistrates who wish a defendant to participate in the program use standard intermittent commitment forms with an additional stipulation that the defendant report each Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 4 pm to participate in the work program. On the first Saturday of the term, the inmate reports to the booking entrance and is booked completely as with any other sentenced prisoner. A medical assessment and work screening are conducted upon admission and prior to any work assignment. The only meal that is provided is a bag lunch. Prisoners are delivered to the work site by staff, and constant observation is maintained throughout the 8 hours. Prisoners have already been classified as low-risk by the courts. All local municipal governments may request free inmate labor from the program. Work projects have included area highway work, public park maintenance, snow removal from public areas, brush removal, grounds maintenance, and some interior renovation work. Prisoners are subject to random physical searches, and drug and alcohol testing is conducted randomly. Intermittent sentences are revocable, and any violation of program rules or show-up times and disobedience or apparent intoxication are reported to the courts. The program has resulted in a net savings of $68.36 per day per prisoner. The public response to the program has been favorable.