LAWRENCE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - The Lawrence County Sheriff's Department decided to end the inmate work release program that allowed some inmates to work for the cities.
Sheriff Jeff Yates said safety was the number one priority when making the decision.
All inmates were screened before being given permission to work. Inmates who committed violent crimes or sexual crimes were not allowed in the program.
Yates said the jail is seeing fewer inmates who are able to be let out to work.
The safety of the county wasn't the only thing on his mind though. He also worried about the safety of his employees when the inmates returned.
"We just don't want to let anybody out that could affect the people of Lawrence County," Yates said. "I have people that come back in here, bring contraband. You know it adds a safety issue on my people as well as anybody in this courthouse. We just decided it was time to cut it out."
This decision has made some city leaders upset. They are now having to pay for the work instead of having 4 to 5 inmates working.
Yates said they are seeing a decrease in the amount of people in the jail, but those who are there are not qualified for the program.
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