Is Craighead County Inmate Program Working?

September 26, 207 -- Posted at 10:22 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- Three men were arrested at the Northeast Arkansas District Fair on Saturday in a seperate incident from a large brawl that closed the fair. But the trio were already behind bars.

They are part of an inmate volunteer program through the Craighead County Jail...working to help pay off their fines. And while an incident sent Brandon Davis, Joseph Brewer and Jonathan Echols back behind bars...Sheriff Jack McCann says he believes the occurrence was an isolated incident.

"They ususally get some prior to the fair to help set up, during the fair and then after to help clean up all the mess," said McCann.

With an average of 12,000 visitors a day at the Northeast Arkansas District Fair, it can get pretty messy. Which is why the fair board uses six to eight inmates every evening during the fair to help assist with cleanup, a practice used since the 1960's.

"There may have been, I just don't recall any issues. Normally, they just go out there and work. They are just glad to be out of here and out there, we just never have any problems out there," said McCann.

Inmates at the Craighead County Jail can choose to be part of a volunteer program that allows them tor work, earning $40 dollars a day which is applied to their jail fines.

"It's saving me the salary for an extra kennel man, so I am very appreciative of it," said Sgt. Larry Rogers of Jonesboro's Animal Control Division, which also uses the inmate program.

Sgt. Rogers believes they have a huge impact.

"It's an excellent program, I've found that they are a big asset in helping us. They were the ones that reused the inmates when we revitalized the old kennels and they help out our kennel master on a daily basis by the cleaning, the watering and the feeding of the dogs," said Rogers.

And as for inmate help at next year's Northeast Arkansas District Fair, Sheriff McCann says you can count on it.

"I think this is an isolated incident, i just don't see it being an issue next year at all," said McCann.