No more free prison labor for cities and counties around the state. For years, local governments have been able to get inmates from state prisons to perform tasks for free. Jasper County Board of Supervisors chairman Max Worthington says they’ll have to start paying four-dollars-a-day for the labor of inmates from the state prison near Newton. Worthington says the inmates have done a “fine job” but the time of free prison labor has come to an end. Jasper County has “employed” up to eight inmates to voluntarily work at the county’s conservation department and the courthouse and to do road maintenance. Now, the County will pay about $10,000 a year now for those services. Newton City Administrator Dave Schornack says his city will gladly pay to keep the inmates working on projects around town. Schornack says they’ve had a good relationship with the state prison outside Newton, and the inmate labor is a “tremendous resource” for the city. Schornack says most of the inmates have done a very good job for the city. Schornack says the majority of inmate labor has been used to work at the city landfill. The city will fork out about $8,000 a year to pay for the prison labor. That $8,000 and the rest of the money collected from local governments around Iowa who use prison labor will be deposited in a special state fund that’ll be used to pay the staff that oversee the prison labor, and to pay the costs of transporting prisoners to their worksites.
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