A work crew consisting of inmates from the Carson City Jail has long been a dream of Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong.
This week, that dream became a reality as the modest crew hit the streets, doing the jobs nobody else wants, said supervisor Don Quilici.
"We're not trying to take away a city employee's job," Quilici, a retired inmate crew supervisor for the Nevada Department of Conservation, said Tuesday as he kept an eye his two workers at Lone Mountain Cemetery.
From cleaning up parks to clearing out gutters, Furlong envisioned a crew that can get things done at no additional cost to the city. At the same time, the duty will give nonviolent inmates an opportunity to pay back the community, said Quilici.
A 22-year-old inmate working Tuesday agreed.
"It's better than being locked up all day," he said, "and I can give back for what I did, really."
The other inmate, 28, serving a sentencing for failing to get drug treatment, said it's nice to get out in the sunshine and the work makes the days go by faster as he prepares to go home to his wife and daughter.
The first workday was Monday, said Quilici when the inmates cleaned up dog mess at Riverview Park at the end of Fifth Street.
Tuesday they were raking up leaves from around gravesites at Lone Mountain Cemetery to help prevent weed growth.
Quilici said now that the word's out that the crew is available to take on city tasks, he's already getting work requests.
Quilici's part-time hourly salary is paid from the jail's commissary budget which is funded through inmate purchases and telephone services. Transportation of the inmates is on loan from the Juvenile Probation.
"They were nice enough to let us use their van," Quilici said.
The Sheriff's budget pays the fuel.
"This is just an example of working together to get it done," said Furlong.
The sheriff said there also could come a time when the inmate crews could be called out to work emergency situations like flooding, such as digging out sewer drains to filling sandbags.
And, he said, being a work crew member is highly sought after by inmates. While just two inmates qualified for the duty thus far, Furlong believes those numbers will increase.
"This encourages positive behavior within the jail and it rewards that behavior once they've completed their programs," Furlong said. "It gives them incentive and it gives them reward, and it benefits the community without taking jobs away from anyone."