The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) recently announced that it’s in the process of expanding the Inmate Work Force Unit, with the intention of increasing the amount of work conducted by Loudoun County inmates on state, count, and town property, and save county taxpayers money.
The program currently has eight inmates. The LCSO plans to increase the work force to 16 inmates within the next two months and up to 24 inmates by next year. Presently, two full-time sworn deputies manage the LCSO program and the eight inmates.
Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman and his leadership team realized that the two deputies could safely and efficiently manage a group twice the current size with additional equipment.
The sheriff’s Corrections Division plans to buy two vans to accommodate the expansion. The unit only has one van now to transport inmates to work sites. In addition, the following equipment was added to the existing inventory: two 60-inch grandstand mowers, two commercial push mowers, six string trimmers, two pole saws, and an enclosed trailer.
“Earlier this year, our work force saved the county $40,000 on a single project,” Chapman said. “They installed bunks at the adult detention center, a project that was slated to be contracted out for $40,000. We utilized our inmates to complete this project at no cost to the county.”
The inmate work force also has performed snow removal from county facilities, mowed areas that used to be under commercial contract, and power-washed unsightly graffiti for several years.
The equipment used by the Sheriff’s Inmate Work Force, including mowers and weed eaters, are purchased from the inmate canteen fund. This fund receives no tax money and is supported by the inmates’ purchases and telephone dividends.
As the current work force facility closed and the expanded program moved to the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center in October 2012, a larger warehouse was needed to store equipment. Consequentially, a new storage facility will be constructed on a vacant portion of property to the rear of the ADC.
The Sheriff’s Inmate Work Force is comprised of non-violent minimum custody level inmates. They work in the community under an armed deputy. They perform landscaping; trash pickup along roadways, parks, and waterways; minor construction, painting and other numerous tasks. They work on State, County and Town property as well as on the property of charitable organizations.