Benton County Inmates Start Work On Summer Projects

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BENTON COUNTY (KFSM) -- Bentonville school buses have lined a section of the parking lot at the Benton County Jail as they await detail work over the summer break.

For the first time, the work will be done by a few Benton County inmates who are part of the inmate work program. They will extensively clean more than 150 school buses from bumper to bumper, said Shawn Holloway, Benton County Sheriff's Deputy.

Bus detailing is one of several projects the work program covers, which also includes construction and renovations for local communities in the county.

A crew will head to Cave Springs by the beginning of July to start remodeling a badly aging community center.

The Cave Springs City Council set aside $75,000 to fund construction materials for the project. Alderman Larry Fletcher called it a smart move for the city.

"It's a money saver and it's just a community service that the county institutions provide to the cities like Cave Springs," Fletcher said.

Holloway said it gets the inmates out of their cells and makes them productive.

"Getting them out in the community and doing something positive, the inmates will tell you it makes them feel better about themselves," Holloway said. "We are giving them a skill when they get out that they can get a job and hopefully reduce the amount of repeat offenders that are coming back into our system."

Resident Don Shores has spent his entire life in Cave Springs and said he's thrilled with the way the project is going to be handled.

"I'm told that's a whole lot better than sitting in a cell," joked Shores. "I think it will be good."

Holloway is also running as a Republican for Benton County Sheriff against Glenn Latham, an independent, in the general election on Nov. 8.

5NEWS spoke with Latham who said he would keep and expand the program if he were elected.

"It's definitely something I'm going to keep around. It's probably something that I'm going to expand a little bit larger than what we have right now," Latham said. "It's not something that will be a burden on the taxpayers, but it's something that's going to be expanded to help the community out, as well as the inmates."

1 Comment

  • nwajack0

    Yes, slave labor certainly saves money– pretty sure no one needs ‘bus detailing’ training. And what sort of standards are these programs held to to teach “skills.”

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