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Continued use of inmate labor OK’d in Dallas
by Adam Elrod
aelrod@neighbornewspapers.com
July 17, 2013 01:02 PM | 1263 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The city of Dallas will continue to use state prisoner labor for jobs in the city including lawn care, maintenance and debris pickup.

Dallas City Council last week voted to enter into an inmate work detail contract with the state of Georgia worth $118,500 for fiscal year 2014.

The cost covers the salary for the state corrections officers, vans, gas and equipment used by inmates, said City Manager Kendall Smith.

“They are not high risk [offenders],” Smith said.

The city hires three crews of prisoners, with a maximum of 10 people on each crew. They work Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Dallas has been using the services since the mid-1990s, he said. The three crews come from area jails and prisons and split their time between cutting grass and picking up yard debris, maintaining sewer lines and miscellaneous jobs.

“They can put together specialized crews,” Smith said.

The special crews have members trained in areas such as carpentry and painting, he said.

Mayor Pro Tem James Kelly said, “It is a phenomenal program for the city.”

He said the work is being done at a relatively low cost and if they did not have the inmates then the city would have to hire someone to do the work. Kelly owns Kelly Landscapes Management and he said the industry cost for this work is $40 per hour per person.

“We are saving so much money,” Smith said. “Some services would have to be cut if we did not have these crews.”
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