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New inmate work force to start up in McDuffie next month

While officials with one inmate work release program have decided to end their contract services with McDuffie County, another one has opted to begin similar services.

The county had been receiving inmate work services from the Jefferson County Correctional Institution in Louisville for the past several years, according to McDuffie County Public Works Director Chris Pelly.

Recently, however, officials decided "to pull out of the contract," citing the desire for their inmate workers to perform duties "a little closer" to Jefferson County, said Mr. Pelly.

McDuffie County commissioners, meeting in session last Tuesday night, decided to enter into a new contract with the Georgia Department of Corrections, relating to their worker inmate program in neighboring Wilkes County.

"Both programs are similar as far as services go," said Mr. Pelly, noting that he had arranged for the same $30,000 yearly contract as existed with the state's Jefferson County program. "It's pretty much the same contract."

The new worker release program out of Wilkes County will begin performing various work-related jobs in McDuffie County on Monday, July 2, said Mr. Pelly.

The work detail will consist of between eight and 12 inmates and a correctional officer serving as a guard. Inmates will work four 10-hour days a week, Monday through Thursday. The inmates will not work on Fridays.

Local leaders said they are pleased with the work they have gotten from past inmate work crew programs - especially when it comes to cleaning up right-of-ways of both county and state roads.

"I think our county is cleaner than it used to be." said Commission Chairman Charlie Newton agreed.

Mr. Newton asked Mr. Pelly if he had discussed the work release program with Sheriff Logan Marshall. The public works director indicated that he had spoken to the sheriff and appeared to be "a little more comfortable with this detail."

The new work release program contract was approved unanimously by commissioners, following motions from Commissioners Dr. Darryl Wester and Bob Farr.

Mr. Pelly pointed out that the inmates involved in these types of programs throughout the state are not deemed violent by state corrections officials.

"These are people who have only a short-time left on their sentences," Mr. Pelly said.

Web posted on Thursday, June 28, 2007

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