By Kristin Rover
Clermont County Commissioners approved a contract for cleaning services for some of the buildings in the county during their April 16 meeting, but the county saves thousands of dollars on cleaning and maintenance each year with the trustee program.
The trustee program, according to Clermont County Sheriff A.J. “Tim” Rodenberg, is a program that enables inmates at the jail and juvenile detention center to work throughout the county doing maintenance and cleaning work.
“It saves the county thousands of dollars a year,” Rodenberg said.
Rodenberg said the program has been around since before he began as sheriff and has continued to grow.
He said jobs the inmates perform include landscaping, minor repairs, painting, car washing, janitorial services, and more.
Wade Grabowski, director of facilities at the county, said inmates in the program clean several buildings in the county including the administrative building, board of elections, and engineer’s building.
“They do quite a bit,” Grabowski said. “It’s just a neat program.”
Rodenberg said because the inmates can complete the work, the county has not had to hire as many contractors.
“It’s a substantial savings, $300,000 per year, roughly,” he said.
Rodenberg said there is a benefit for those who participate in the program as well.
“If they are doing well they get two-for-one jail credit,” Rodenberg said. “It can cut the sentence in half.”
Rodenberg said inmates have to be eligible to participate in the program.
“We have to be selective in screening,” Rodenberg said.
Rodenberg said the inmates first have to meet the requirements based on what kind of crime they are incarcerated for, and then there is an extensive interview process to be selected.
He said there are about 30 inmates per day who participate in the trustee program.
“Most of them work quite well,” Rodenberg said. “We’ve got some skilled inmates.”
Rodenberg said the program is also successful because it gets the inmates back in a working routine.
“It gives the inmates something of value to do and be compensated for work,” Rodenberg said. “They know if they work, and they work right then they get something in return. It gives them some skills and discipline.”