Your Washington County Jail has two different types of programs that put inmates to work. These programs directly benefit both the inmate participants and the citizens of Washington County.
Work In Lieu of Jail Program
The Work in Lieu of Jail Program (WILOJ) is essentially a weekender program for inmates who meet stringent qualifications. Participating inmates are not lodged in the jail, but rather work off their sentence by reporting on weekends.
Approximately 15 sentenced inmates are used for 8 hours each Saturday and Sunday for community projects. They may clear undergrowth and brush; paint and make minor repairs to schools, park buildings and granges; or even clear and repair damage to local cemeteries.
WILOJ inmates pay a $25 program fee per day in lieu of spending 24 hours in jail. The income pays for the cost of their supervision, workers insurance, and the van used to transport inmates to their work site. Inmates involved in this program consider it a more productive way to pay their debt to society for their crimes. The citizens of Washington County benefit with cleaner and safer parks, schools, and highways.
Roadside Cleanup Programs
Washington County Jail inmates also work on federal and state projects. Current projects include roadside cleanup for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). These inmates perform work while in jail custody full-time.
ODOT is responsible for keeping the roadsides cleared of brush and other debris. As with all other public agencies, ODOT has its own budget restrictions and does not have funding to hire roadside crews to accomplish this work. However, ODOT does have funding to reimburse the Sheriff's Office for supervising inmate crews to do this work. This work is necessary to reduce fire danger from roadside combustibles and to keep drainage areas clear. It is a bonus that this work keeps our highways looking nice.
The inmates selected for the work crews are carefully screened. They must have a history free of violent crime convictions and must be model inmates who are determined to be low escape risks, and who are nearing the end of their sentence. The experience they gain includes teamwork, following instructions, handling power equipment, forestry skills, and developing a work ethic. Our goal is for the inmate laborers to improve not only the conditions of our roads and forests, but also to gain skills that will help them to be productive citizens once they are released.
These programs all use inmate workers, which are different and separate from County Community Service Programs.