April 15, 2015
By Kendra Peek
STANFORD — About $7,000 — that’s the amount of money each year that Lincoln County Jailer Rob Wilson has determined the county will save thanks to the $1,500 in equipment the detention center was able to purchase using inmate canteen funds.
“It saves the county money and it benefits the inmates, as far as time and work,” Wilson said. “What the people of Lincoln County are going to see is a lot more inmates out here doing work.”
Canteen funds are those gained when inmates purchase things in the store at the Lincoln County Regional Jail.
“Before, it was contracted out. The contractors were making 72 percent of the profit, and we were making 28 percent,” said Wilson, who was elected in November. “When I came in, I said that’s unacceptable. I want it all.”
Now, when the inmates purchase something through the canteen, the money is used to fund things such as educational opportunities for the inmates.
“That money doesn’t belong to the county and it doesn’t belong to the jail. It actually belongs to the inmates,” Wilson said.
The jail currently is using the canteen money to foot the bill for GED and other classes being offered.
“We are only one of six in the state that are GED test sites,” he said.
The canteen money also can be used to buy equipment that will be used by the inmates. That’s how the jail was able to obtain $1,500 in equipment for doing yard work — everything from push lawn mowers to rakes and weed trimmers to brooms.
“It can save the county money. Hopefully it means a better-looking community as far as cleanliness,” he said.
It’s also a benefit for the men and women working the crews in the county. Cleaning crews will be spread to properties across Lincoln County, although the mowing will be kept in Stanford.
“For the inmates, they get paid to work by the state. County inmates get time knocked off their sentence. It gets them out, it gets them busy,” Wilson said. “It helps calm some of the inmates, it gives them something to do, gets them active.”
Using the inmates saves the taxpayers money, Wilson said, and that’s key.
“We look at the budget every day,” he said. “We’re always juggling stuff and finding ways to be creative.”