From the Desk of
J. Michael Cross County Executive
Thanks to the collaborative partnership by the Office of the General Sessions Judge, the Fentress County Sheriff’s Department and our Fentress County Solid Waste Department, we are reaping significant benefits from some of the prisoners housed in the Fentress County Justice Center. With Terry Hall’s leadership and supervision, prisoners and community service workers picked up 3,202 bags of garbage from our county roads in the last calendar year. Were we to hire out this service, the cost would be over $34,000.00 a year. Additionally, the Sheriff’s Department assigns one full time prisoner to the Fentress County Solid Waste Department. Under one-on-one supervision, over 40 tons of trash is removed from our state highways each year with a savings valued at over $18,000.00 each year.
In addition to trash pick-up, inmates mow most of our Fentress County Government’s buildings. Properties mowed by Fentress County inmates include the Fentress County Courthouse, the Chamber of Commerce, the Justice Center, E-911 Communications Center, the Agricultural Extension Office, the Fentress County Library, the Health Department, the Senior Citizen’s Center and UCHRA. Mowing approximately twice monthly, the estimated savings exceeds $7,500.00 each calendar year.
Last year, Fentress County inmates, with supervision, planted and grew their own vegetables in a garden near the Justice Center. The harvested produce provided a savings of almost $7,000.00 in meal preparation at the Justice Center. We are currently exploring the possibilities of letting inmates raise their own pork and beef on a local farm.
There is the old saying that “if life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. We want to make the operations of the Fentress County Justice Center a “Model” of efficiency and savings. Presently, Fentress County Government generates close to $70,000.00 worth of services each year by utilizing inmate labor. In addition to savings and efficiency, this program promotes a positive work ethic to some of our troubled prisoners. We hope that this translates to a positive learning environment that will provide these young men and women a better chance of success when they their time has been served. We want to thank everyone involved.
We can be reached at 879-7713. Executive Assistant Amanda Hicks can also be reached at *protected email*. County Commission Meetings are held every third Monday at 6:00 following a 5:00 o’clock work session. All meetings are open to the public.