Posted: Jul 6, 2010 10:36 AM by Greg Boyce
Pueblo County work crews are back for the summer, using labor provided by county jail inmates.
Started in 2003, the program was discontinued after Sheriff Kirk Taylor was elected and now reinstated. The goal is trash pick-up and beautification of Pueblo County.
Select inmates make up the Chain Gang. They work along roadways, bagging trash which is then picked up by the Department of Transportation. They also do clean up at the Colorado State Fair, cleaning the grounds after closing time.
"This program allows inmates to use their time constructively while awaiting their next stop in the criminal justice system," said Sheriff Taylor. "Rather than being warehoused and sitting in jail, the inmates are able to contribute something to the community."
To qualify as one of the 15-20 Chain Gang members, an inmate must be held on the orders of the Department of Corrections and be either convicted of, or facing felony charges. Chain Gang inmates are always chained together for public safety and are monitored by four specially trained deputies.
In 2009 inmate workers provided over 40,067 man hours. The Chain Gang operates during the summer and fall months. The other inmate Labor Crew Programs run year around.