Bradley County Workhouse successful in its first month

By BRIAN GRAVES Staff Writer
Posted 9/13/17

Although experiencing the normal blips for a new system and a new building, the new Bradley County Workhouse is showing success since opening almost month ago.

Probation Director Rich Kienlen …

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Bradley County Workhouse successful in its first month

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Although experiencing the normal blips for a new system and a new building, the new Bradley County Workhouse is showing success since opening almost month ago.

Probation Director Rich Kienlen gave a status report during Monday’s Bradley County Commission work session.

Kienlen said there are currently 74 now housed in the 128-space workhouse.

“The first one came in on Aug. 2, so we are only talking about 22 days,” Kienlen said.

He said the state has been billed for 1,428 — $55,731 — for state inmates that are not going out to work.

“We did that upfront to generate some revenue,” Kienlen said.

He said there were 10 to 12 inmates who were “actually going out to work” and from that during August, the workhouse realized an income of $2,524.

“One of the benefits we are having is there is a local company who asked for anonymity, who has hired seven people from the workhouse and I have four more applications we are awaiting to get the judge to sign off on,” he said.

“This company is telling me they can take up to 28,” Kienlen said. “They are also telling me if these guys stay in good standing, they will keep them on.”

He added it was hoped more companies would step up with job offers.

Kienlen said there have been three inmates who have been “kicked out” because of contraband, two because of a failed drug test and one that brought contraband into the workhouse.

“I told [Workhouse Supervisor] Allan Walsh that sometimes you get addition by having subtraction,” he said. “We needed to send a message upfront we were not going to play around. They mess up one time, they’re out and going back to the jail.”

Kienlen called it “a good start.”

“We are finding the judges are using this for 10-, 30-, 45- and 90-day jail sentences,” he said.

“Studies show if you maintain employment for six months, you are more like to stay with that position,” said Vice Chairman Jeff Yarber. “When you are able to put in these positions, that’s how you change things.”

“In 15 to 20 years, when their children see their father being productive and they don’t follow the same path the rest of the family might have, that’s when you see major changes,” he said. “In 30 years, people will come back and say these guys did a good thing.”

County Mayor D. Gary Davis said the boarding revenues are ahead of schedule and “it looks good for the first month.”

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