In 1984, a movement was initiated to clean up litter along the roadways and in the parks and waterways of Putnam County. The Sheriff of Putnam County was contacted for assistance. A small inmate work crew, under the supervision of a corrections officer, was assembled and assigned the clean up task. The work crew did such an outstanding job that additional requests for inmate workers from various municipalities poured into the Sheriff’s Office.
It was then determined that a structured program had to be developed to facilitate the work requests. Shortly thereafter, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office’s Inmate Community Work Program was created. Since this endeavor was not intended to be a work release program, it was placed under the direct supervision of the Sheriff’s Office’s Corrections Division.
The Inmate Community Work Program continues to receive numerous requests for assistance from many not for profit entities, who receive partial or full municipal funding. After reviewing each request, work schedules and time lines are carefully planned for each approved job. Although guided by legal limitations, every effort is made to help requesting organizations.
The success of the Inmate Community Work Program is not only reaped by those receiving assistance. Inmates chosen for this project are happy to help. In fact, inmates who participate in this program have wide ranging talents and in many cases, the work is completed in a professional manner. The inmates gain self-respect and a feeling of accomplishment as they complete their work with pride. It is hoped that this feeling of self-worth is carried out with the inmate upon his release from the correctional facility.