Greene County's Quorum Court has authorized the hiring of a second work-release supervisor.
It amended the county Law Enforcement Fund to add $33,047.35 to pay for the individual, hiring of whom will increase the total program staff to three.
"We are at a 'Catch-22,'" said county jail administrator Brent Cox in explaining the need for the employee to the Court's Finance Committee. He explained the two current employees of the program are already providing coverage from 3 a.m. to 7 p.m. five days a week but ADC [the Arkansas Department of Corrections] wants to bring inmates here that are in work release in other counties, or the ADC itself, he said. The added number of work-release program participants is expected, without the availability of the third officer, to cause scheduling problems from the employees, the program participants, or both.
"And we want to have everything in place before they start coming here," Cox said.
In response to a question from District 10 justice Jeremy Wooldridge regarding work for the added number of program participants, Cox said the supply of jobs at local companies greatly exceeds the number of available program participants. "We don't have enough people," he said. "We already have them working at Allen Engineering, at Greenbrier, at Broken Spoke and so on."
Cox said there are a total of 14 program participants -- "we call them 'citizens'" -- currently. "This is a program we are all excited about."
Committee chair and District 4 justice Jonathon Davis said he had encountered one of the program participants while at the baseball park. "He was picking up trash," Davis said, "and we talked for a bit. He said he was in the program. I was impressed!"
The committee voted to recommend approval to the full court, which it did unanimously at the full meeting.
Cox said on Friday that the third individual has already been hired. The staff now consists of coordinator Rudy Ring and supervisors Ryan Hubble and Charles Moss.
As previously reported, structure of the program requires the participating inmates use 25 percent of what they make from their jobs to pay off fines, costs and fees. Those participating also pay $25 a day for their housing at the jail. Cox had observed that often, once inmates are released from jail, they don't pay their fines. "But this way, they do," he had said.