Elbert County Working on Solutions for Potential Prison Labor Shortage

December 17, 2012

The Elbert County Commission is working on ways to overcome an upcoming labor shortage, which is due to the Whitworth Detention Center in Hartwell switching to an all female prison population.

Currently the county receives a ten man crew four times a week to conduct whatever labor is needed. According to County Administrator Bob Thomas, the prison work detail saves the county a lot of money.

“The value of that has been tremendous for us”, said Thomas, “If we had to contract it out, I bet you it would cost us almost thirty to forty thousand dollars to cover just the grass cutting.”

Whitworth plans on replacing the male labor crews with female crews to do the same work. Thomas said it might be worth giving a shot considering the tight budget.

“I’m very skeptical about that, but financially if we don’t try it, we are going to have to come up with an extra thirty to forty thousand dollars to get that work done for us”, said Thomas.

The decision from Whitworth has caused the County to begin looking at local detail options said Thomas.

“We have talked to the incoming sheriff about trying to get a crew out of our local facility here. Whether or not we can work it out will be determined, but there may be a possibility that we could work out something local here”, said Thomas.

The current labor crew will last until the end of the month. Whitworth Detention Center is expected to send out the first all female detail around the end of January or the beginning of February of next year.