MADISON COUNTY, Ala. -- After Madison County inmate Matthew Meggs walked away from work detail at the Bob Harrison Center last month, the sheriff's office has been working on a better way to classify inmates who fit the criteria to do work outside the jail. Chief Deputy Steve Morrison tells WHNT now the protocol excludes inmates with outstanding warrants from this type of trustee status.
"You have to be a sentenced inmate, and you can't have any outstanding warrants," he said.
This means around 30 inmates who used to be eligible for work detail outside jail walls must now be reassigned to a job inside, where they will have more supervision and less freedom.
"They work in the laundry. They work in our central storage area. Janitorial services," said Morrison, listing some options. "We actually have lots of opportunities.... These inmates really want to get out of their cells and do something instead of sitting inside waiting for time to click by."
Restricting the number of inmates who can do that out in the community, though, comes at a cost.
"It's really a hurtful thing for the folks on the outside that need the assistance," said Morrison about the work being lost. "We had a detail with the Madison County school system washing buses. Now we're doing everything we can to find some inmates to put out there to continue with that before school starts up again."