County wants more jail labor

Published 12:53 pm Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Lunenburg County wants to use more jail inmate labor to handle assorted chores around the county.

The Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors is interested in increasing the frequency of inmate labor use by paying a certified jail officer to transport and monitor trustees from the Piedmont Regional Jail on a more regular basis.

Trustees already do some work in the county, but supervisors insist that the limited use means Lunenburg is missing out on sundry maintenance work that could be getting done, including cleaning, panting and power washing.

“It’s something we really need to pursue,” Supervisor Frank Bacon told fellow board members during a meeting earlier this month.

“We’re not talking about getting them here one or two days. We’re talking about getting them regularly.

“We can get a lot of work done if we’ve got a … program set up.”

Chairman T. Wayne Hoover asked that by the board’s next meeting the county find out the requirements for insurance, security, transportation and the cost of jail officers associated with increasing the use of work crews.

“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” he said. “We just have to get it rolling.”

Meanwhile, Supervisor Alvester L. Edmonds asked that an increase in the number of visits by the inmates be in place by spring.

Supervisors point to the savings on contact labor cost that an increase in inmate labor would mean to the county.

“There are a thousand different things we could have done right here in our county,” Hoover said.

The county already gets some labor through the regional jail — of which Lunenburg is a member along with the counties of Amelia, Buckingham, Cumberland, Nottoway and Prince Edward. The frequency of the work crews’ visits is based on the percentage of the locality’s contribution to the jail.

The localities that have the most inmates — Prince Edward and Nottoway — pay the most, and, consequently, get more frequent inmate labor, Lunenburg County Administrator Tracy Gee said.

Accompanied by an armed officer from the jail, trustees do maintenance at the courthouse approximately every two weeks for one day, Gee said.