Inmate Work Crews To Be Made Available To Local Communities

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MCLENNAN COUNTY (February 26, 2013)--McLennan County jail trusties will be available to communities throughout the county to perform manual labor that might otherwise have to be outsourced.

Pct. 4 County Commissioner Ben Perry said that inmates will be available to cities as early as next month.

McLennan County Jail Supervisor John Kolinek praised the program.

"Any time our inmates can do work for a local city, and it doesn't cost taxpayers anything, I think that's a good thing," Kolinek said.

Inmates who participate in the jail's trusty program are trying to turn their lives around, officials say.

"You can see in an inmate's eyes and body language that this is a place they never thought they would wind up," Kolinek said.

"If they decide that they don't like being incarcerated, and use that as a motivating factor to make sure it doesn't happen again, then we are more than happy with that," he said.

Inmates must apply to be part of the program.

If you make the cut, you're given a new pair of stripes, and are allowed to perform manual labor in and outside the jail.

"They are vital to this jail's everyday operation," Kolinek said.

"They do general maintenance, they do laundry, and they also work in the kitchen to prepare the food that's served not only to inmates but to the staff," he said.

Trusty programs began in the 1900's, and are still making an impact on inmates today.

Five trusties were cleaning up baseball fields last week in Lacy Lakeview.

They asked that they not be identified, but agreed that the program allows them to make the most out of a bad situation.

"Jail is not a place I recommend anyone to go," one of the inmates said.

"But if you do go, you will learn something by the time you get out of here."

"I want to better myself and be a positive role model for my little boy," another inmate said.

"This program is what motivates me to hurry up and get out... back to the world and my family," another said.