Put inmates to work for taxpayers’ benefit

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Under the state misdemeanor confinement program, counties are reimbursed to house misdemeanor offenders for the state. Taxpayers are paying for low-level offenders to sit around, sleep and play cards all day in certain county jails. I think these inmates need to be productive while doing their time — working, going to school or participating in substance abuse and mental health treatment.

There are plenty of things they can be doing, such as:

• Going out on litter details

• Working with Department of Transportation and parks and rec crews

• Working at the city and county water treatment plants

• Cutting grass at public graveyards

• Washing and detailing county vehicles

This would be a good way for offenders to earn their room and board as well as giving back to the community. Instead, here at places like the Wilson County Detention Center, they don’t let inmates work these types of jobs. They have prisoners from another county come here and do those jobs. They’d rather waste gas and let felons do the work instead of low-level misdemeanor offenders. What sense does this make? None at all.

Taxpayers pay for misdemeanor offenders to sit around all day where there is nothing for them to do but stare at a wall. We have no access to these jobs or vocational programs. Also, the female inmates in Wilson County have Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous meetings every Wednesday, but the male inmates don’t.

Something has to change. Some of us need AA and substance abuse treatment. I’m sure we have plenty of volunteers who are willing to come up here and help.

I have written every agency or person I could think of about this and I got no response. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Matthew McCrary

Elm City

Editor’s Note: The writer is a Wilson County Detention Center inmate who is incarcerated here through the N.C. Misdemeanant Confinement Program.