In January 2012, a new inmate work program began as a joint effort by the Board of County
Commissioners and the Garrett County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Rob Corley informed the Board at their
July 3 public meeting that this new initiative has saved the county more than $40,000 to date.
The Inmate Work Program has provided “5,395 hours of free labor since the beginning of the
year. At $7.50 an hour, that’s a $40,462 savings to the county. This is huge.” Sheriff Corley said,
referring to recent county budgetary cuts.
The Board of Garrett County Commissioners praised the new initiative. “Thanks for putting this
program together,” Chairman James Raley told Sheriff Corley.
Calling it a “win-win” situation for all involved, Sheriff Corley said the program has provided
unskilled labor without cost to 30 county properties, municipalities and non-profit agencies. He said
the Sheriff’s Office used St. Mary’s County’s Detention Center as a blueprint for Garrett County’s plan,
whereby inmates provide such outdoor work as mowing and maintenance, under the supervision of
one full-time Sheriff’s Office employee.
“There’s no question it’s a good program,” said Mountain Lake Park Mayor Leo Martin, whose
town was one of the first municipalities to use the free labor. “Inmates have done a lit bit of everything,
from mowing and trimming grass to building walls,” he said. “The inmates we’ve had working have
good attitudes with good work ethics. They like getting outdoors and we haven’t had any problems
with anyone. We used to provide inmates lunch, but now the Sheriff’s Office even packs their lunch.”
In a presentation to the Board, Sheriff Corley said a Mountain Lake Park employee picks up an
inmate five days a week, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. to work with town employees. Inmates also work on 28
county sites from satellite garbage sites to water treatment facilities. This week, the town of Grantsville
also “picked up inmates for outdoor storm clean-up work,” Sheriff Corley said.
Under the work program to date, Garrett County inmates have mowed and cleared debris
from 1.7 miles of trails at the Adventure Sports Center International plus worked at the Oakland
Cemetery, Youth Little League fields at Broad Ford Park and the Garrett County Visitors’ Center in
“If an inmate signs up for the program and does a good job, they can earn up to five days a
month off their sentence,” said Sheriff Corley. In response to Commissioner Robert Gatto’s question how inmates are selected for the work program, the Sheriff added, “No sex offenders, no violent
criminals and inmates have to be sentenced for a maximum of 18 months.”
The detention center currently houses 73 inmates.
He said the county purchased one zero-turn mower and two push mowers and pays for
gasoline for the inmate work program. “When I first bit into this apple, I didn’t know how much we
could do,” said Sheriff Corley. “Next year, I think we’ll be able to take care of all county mowing
contracts, and in the winter, do snow removal.”