A work program allows some Texoma inmates to leave jail to be a part of community projects. County jails like Archer and Wichita offer inmate work programs where the inmates can give back to the community.
The Archer County inmates have helped on several projects since the introduction of the program in September. Not only does it give the inmates a chance to help the community, but it also helps to save county money.
"We offer this program to get them out, get a little bit of sunshine, give back to the community where they've taken from," says Archer County Sheriff Staci Beesinger.
Beesinger says the inmate work program has been a great success, giving them a chance to get outside, but also saving the county a lot of money. She says, It's a cost saving deal for the county."
Maintaining county buildings like the courthouse and the Sheriff's office these inmates complete jobs that the county would normally have to pay for.
"Any non-profit organization, fire department, city county and Archer County is eligible to receive this work from this inmate work program," Beesinger says.
And one non-profit has really seen the benefits of having the inmates visit their property.
"We offer these services to the volunteer fire departments because they are volunteer, all of these guys have jobs elsewhere, they get behind they need a little help taking care of things," Beesinger explains.
"The inmate program for us has just been absolutely outstanding," says John Strenski, Fire Chief at Bowman Volunteer Fire Department.
Bowman V.F.D. has the Archer County jail inmates to thank for the repainting of their building, cleaned and waxed trucks and a freshly mowed lawn.
"With us being a volunteer fire department we don't always have time for general upkeep, cleaning and that kind of thing," Strenski says. "It's just been a God sent for us."
The work is free and does nothing to lesson their sentence, but Sheriff Beesinger says the inmates enjoy being a part of the program even if their only reward is knowing that they have given back.
"They do not earn anything extra, other than just the satisfaction of knowing that they are doing a good job," says Beesinger.
Wichita County jail also offers a similar program to their inmates. Sheriff Duke says the inmates cook, do laundry and also do outside work. By being a part of the program, inmates at Archer and Wichita can avoid prison time and serve their time in jail instead, so long as they demonstrate good behavior and work ethic.
Archer County says their inmates leave the jail once a week to work on community projects. The programs are offered on a volunteer basis.