The Lowndes County Jail's Inmate-to-Work Program has grown to be a strong success. The program matches low-risk inmates who want to need to earn money with local industries who need reliable workers.
At first, both inmates and employers were slow to take part, but things have changed.
Sheriff Ashley Paulk of LCSO says, "The biggest problem we got now is we don't have enough inmates to fill all the job openings. We've even taken on some new companies. Lowe’s just came on board with their distribution center. The employers that work with us have been great. It's been a win-win situation."
Managers in the industrial park declined to speak about this program on camera because they are concerned about public reaction to putting inmates to work, but Sheriff Paulk says they're shouldn't be any negative reaction to this effort because he says it benefits everyone involved.
Paulk says, "For the taxpayers’ standpoint, they're paying back the jail, it's a sum everyday, it defers the cost of keeping them, and also if inmates maintain their jobs then their sentence is cut in half. The thing we're most excited about is that a lot of them are keeping their job once they get out."
Meaning inmates have paid their debt to society, both literally and figuratively, and have even learned a skill they can use once they're released.