The mission of inmate labor programs is to teach inmates proper safety and common vocational industry practices, along with principles of positive work ethics in an effort to enhance reintegration into society. All supplies including start up costs of programs are obtained from federal grant funds and/or welfare funds.
The Pasco Sheriff’s Office has initiated a number of programs designed to save taxpayer’s dollars, raise the work ethic of selected inmates and give them a productive way to spend court-ordered sentences. The Inmate Labor Section consists of four units, Inmate Labor, Facility Maintenance, Construction, and Contracted Work Crews. Inmate Labor is responsible for the overall cosmetic maintenance of Detention Central, the upkeep of the facility grounds and supervision of assigned programs.
This section supervises the following programs:
Operation Payback Program
Operation Payback (OPB) is an alternative county jail sentence administered by the Sheriff’s Office, in cooperation with County and Circuit Judges and county staff. Defendants sentenced to OPB are assigned to a county park or facility to assist with general cleaning and grounds maintenance. In 2016 there was a daily average of 53 defendants in the program and they completed a total of 20,263 hours of labor. At $8.05, this was a value of $163,117.15. It cost $64 per day to house an inmate in the detention center. By having defendants in OPB instead of housing them in the jail, there was an additional value of $164,080.00 in 2016.
County Work Crews for 2016
These crews also performed 376 hours of labor for Fire Rescue and Facilities Maintenance.
Total hours of labor for 2016 was 18,354. At $8.05 per hour this was a value of $147,749.70.
Administrative Clean-Up Crew
The Sheriff’s Office operates two administration clean-up crews. Each crew is comprised of 3 female inmate workers that complete general cleaning in agency buildings throughout the county.
The detention facility has an average of 25 female inmate workers assigned to the Laundry program. Inmate workers complete all washing and drying of jail linens and uniforms, they also make sewing repairs. They are able to repair socks, undergarments, inmate uniforms, sheets, and mattresses.
The Grounds Maintenance Program was designed to train inmates for potential employment upon release from incarceration. The program instructs inmates in the proper handling and use of common commercial landscaping equipment to include preventative maintenance and servicing of the equipment. Additionally, the program is used to maintain the grounds of the facility.
Inmate Vocational Programs
The Sheriff’s Office currently has carpentry, welding, and construction vocational programs.
The carpentry program has an average of 7 inmate workers. They are taught how to use various power tools and equipment and build items such as picnic tables, Adirondack chairs, bean bag toss games, and items from recycled pallets. The inmates in this program receive a certificate for hours of instruction upon their release from custody.
The welding program generally has an average of 2 inmates. They are taught to weld and make things such as park grills and smokers. They receive certificates in welding safety, blue print reading, and hours of instructions. Some participants are able to be fully certified through the American Welding Society upon their release.
The construction program has an average of 10 inmate workers. They assist with general maintenance; replacing flooring, building renovations, plumbing, and electrical work. They are instructed on tool handling, safety procedures, blueprint reading, and proper use of power tools. The work crews operate under the supervision of certified staff members holding a general contractors license.