Inmates to help clean up community parks in Montgomery County

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - The Parks and Recreation Board in Montgomery County has already approved allowing inmates to work in the local parks. It's a decision that Mt. Sterling Mayor, Gary Williamson is concerned about.

"We have had a bad experience working inmates in the past," says Mayor Williamson.

Williamson says the county no longer allows work release programs because they've had inmates smuggle drugs back into jail and they've had some escape and commit more violent crimes, "The individual that was supposed to be a safe prisoner. He went in on minor charges. He just hadn't' been caught for what he was really guilty of, that was abusing a child. And at that point we quit using inmates."

Park and Recreation board member, James E. Davis says only people who have failed to pay their child support would be allowed to work in the parks,"Basically what I've done is put parameters around this to ensure the safety of these children. There's going to be one jailer per three inmates. The inmates are not going to have any criminal record whatsoever."

It's a plan, Davis expects to save the board $50,000,"I have to be accountable to the citizens of Montgomery County and the taxes they pay."

"I think this is a terrible idea. We should never, never, never put the public safety in front of a few dollars," says Williamson.

Williamson says he wouldn't feel comfortable having his family in the park while inmates were at work.

The plan is to have the inmates working early in the morning or before 3 o'clock in the afternoon, when Davis says not as many people will be in the parks.

Davis feels comfortable bringing his own children to the parks even if the inmates were at work.

Williamson hopes the Parks and Recreation Board will change its mind but Davis says they have no plans to do that. Davis also says inmates will start working this spring.

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