County control of STS ‘going well’

A year after Mille Lacs County took over the Sentence to Serve (STS) program from the state, things are going well, Sheriff Brent Lindgren told County Board members at their July 17 meeting.

Lindgren told commissioners that inmates, who trim a day from their sentence for every eight hours worked in the program, accounted for 37,416 work hours in 12 months through June 2012.

There were 211 inmates that participated and their hours reduced housing of inmates for 4,677 days, resulting in a potential savings of $233,850, figured on $50 a day for boarding.

The program was previously run by the state which provided 75 percent of the funding.

That eventually dropped to 50 percent, with the state still setting the rules, and when it was going to drop to 25 percent, Sheriff Lindgren got the go-ahead to switch it to a county program.

“We thought we could do it cheaper and that’s basically what we’ve done the last year,” Lindgren told commissioners. “It’s a good program all the way around.”

Inmates work in different community service projects around the county and in county projects. The STS crew leader is also a custodian for the sheriff’s office.

For example, with 80 to 100 people normally in jail per day at the county jail, the county laundry service runs for 24 hours a day.

“That washer and dryer are never shut off,” Lindgren said.

Inmates work three eight-hours shifts a day to keep the laundry service running.

They also work in the kitchen for 12 hours a day where meals are prepared for up to 100 people a day.

For the full story, see the Thursday, July 26 print edition of the Times.