Inmate Community Service Program Closed Down

After 10 years, the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office is closing down its Inmate Community Service Program, due to budget constraints. The Inmate Community Service Program was created in 2007, and allowed non-violent, misdemeanor-level volunteer inmates of the Detention Center to work under the direction supervision of the Sheriff’s Office, to perform cleanup and light maintenance projects for not-for-profit, governmental, and community service organizations. In addition to many highway, roadside, and recreational area trash cleanups, the Inmate Community Service Program was also involved in a wide range of community projects. Sheriff Mike Lowell says the benefits of the program were threefold, it helped relieve boredom and tension within the Detention Center, resulting in a safer environment for both staff and inmates, provided beneficial services to the community, and helped prepare inmates for a positive integration back into the community as law-abiding citizens. The Sheriff’s office has lost 11 positions and $1.5 million in funding during the recent budget cuts. Lowell says that restoring the Inmate Community Service Program would be a top priority, in the event funding becomes available.

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