Inmate labor efforts slowed by weather, need for insurance

Published 8:18 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Efforts earlier in the year to use more Piedmont Regional Jail labor were slowed by bad weather.

But Lunenburg County Administrator Tracy Gee also told the members of the board of supervisors during their Thursday, Feb. 11, meeting, that the county also needs to get a $2,500 insurance rider to cover the inmate labor. The county will check to see if it also covers volunteers working at county sites.

Gee said people occasionally offer to work cleaning up the animal shelter. County Attorney Frank Rennie told the board nothing should be done until the matter of insurance is resolved.

“I would not recommend having volunteers or inmates out here without coverage,” he said.

Supervisors have been pushing for more use of inmate labor and pointing to the savings on contract labor cost that the increase in labor would mean to the county.

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

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, Gee said.

Currently, trusties — accompanied by an armed officer from the jail — perform maintenance at the courthouse approximately every two weeks for one day.