After six inmates snuck away from work detail for a rapper's funeral last month, the Shelby County Commission had some questions.
County Commissioner Chris Thomas invited Shelby County Division of Corrections Director James Coleman to provide insight at Wednesday's commission meeting.
"There is no ... unrealistic danger for the public with this program," Coleman said, "Curiosity got the best of them (the inmates), they found where there was a glitch in the security oversight of our supervisors and were able to get out and get back undetected by supervisors."
MORE: Inmates leave work detail for rapper's funeral
READ: Inmate Work Lines Policies
Because of the incident, the six inmates received additional time in solitary and work credits they've earned toward an early release were revoked. The supervisors involved received time off.
Coleman says naturally they are now taking a closer look at their policies to see if any updates need to be made.
Included in the current policies for inmate work detail, inmates charged with specific felonies cannot be on detail; the inmates on work duty are minimum security and are close to being released. Coleman adds, "Being minimum security inmates, we've not had –since this program's been in existence to my knowledge – not had anyone go out into the community and commit any violent crimes."
County Commissioner Chris Thomas says he now has his answers and no doubt that this program provides more good rather than danger for the community.
"This is a good thing because these folks don't need to sit around doing nothing," says Thomas, "This is helping them get work skills, social skills, so that when they do get back in society, they're going to be ready to work as members of society."
Coleman say not only is public safety a priority when managing the inmate work detail, but also making sure they are returning to society a better quality person than the one who came into the jail
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