Rogers County Inmates Go To Work To Give Back
CLAREMORE, Oklahoma - The Rogers County Jail is giving low-risk offenders an opportunity to give back to the community, one wall at a time.
"I've got a 6-year-old daughter who counts on me and it's tough being away from her," says inmate Jerry Nichols.
"The first month was pretty treacherous," Nichols says. "I mean it wasn't easy. I was sitting in a pod with the rest of the inmates not working you know, pretty much bored."
But things turned around when Nichols was cleared for the jail's inmate program.
"They check into work, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.," says Lieutenant Nathan Sappington. "They get searched in and out of the facility, metal detectors, and we keep them busy five days a week. Sometimes six."
The project aims to give low-level offenders with non-violent charges the opportunity to work through their sentences.
"I've been over here for a month and, you know, I have put a lot of work in on the road crews and the parks and it's made me feel a lot better about helping the community and also when I get out I'll be ready to work instead of lying around for three months and not doing anything," Nichols says.
Each inmate goes through a background check and health screening before they are cleared for the program.
Once accepted, the inmates spend their work days picking up trash for Claremore, cleaning up parks, and their newest job: helping schools with maintenance projects while students are on summer break.
"We are in a time of education that our schools are strapped for operational funds as well as academic funds," says Randa Fay, principal at Claremont.
"From there realized this is the only way that I am going to get this building, the upkeep, the maintenance that it really needs," Fay says.
For Nichols, the work is preparing him for a new life with his daughter after jail.
"These couple months are just a short period of time for me to get right and for me to get my life straight so I can go and help her when I get out," he says.
The project is expected to be done in the next two weeks.