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Inmate labor saves money

By By Marianne Todd/staff writer
Jan. 8, 2002
State inmate labor saved Lauderdale County taxpayers more than $600,000 in wages in 2001, a number that could increase if officials can secure off-site housing for another 40 inmates.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie declined to discuss possible housing sites, but said he and county supervisors have until September to agree on a suitable location in which to house inmate trusties.
According to a report released by Sollie's department, inmates accounted for roughly 120,000 hours worked in the county in 2001.
Another 40 inmates could save taxpayers another $400,000 in wages for jobs the county couldn't hire citizens to perform, said jail administrator Maj. Doris Callahan.
State inmates also brought an estimated $400,000 to the county from Mississippi Department of Corrections reimbursements, a figure that will nearly double if 40 more state workers are added.
Sollie began bringing more state inmates into the county after announcing plans to create a work farm for inmates in which they would grow their own vegetables to offset food expenses.
Inmates brought in more than 2,000 pounds of food from that program, which is expected to double in size this summer, said assistant jail administrator Mickey Ables.
Callahan said she is never short on requests for inmates.
By the numbers:
Here is a look at the number of hours inmates worked for 2001.
30, 144: Lauderdale County Detention Facility kitchen.
19,200: Mississippi Department of Transportation road crews.
23,520: Other road crews.
3,840: Lauderdale County Courthouse Annex.
9,856: Maintenance of county buildings.
5,280: Central garage work.
1,920: Lauderdale County Department of Archives and History.
1,920: Mississippi Highway Patrol.
2,400: Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office.
6,720: Garden care and car washing.
4,576: Laundry.
1,760: Lauderdale County Circuit Clerk's office.
1,440: Mississippi Air National Guard.
1,760: Lauderdale County Training Facility.
600: Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency.
800: Lauderdale County Beat 5.
1,400: Agri-Center.
720: Lauderdale County Detention Facility library.
1,280: Lauderdale County data processing.
960: Red Cross.