Sheriff Matt Coates is expanding a program that puts inmates to work outside the confines of the Erath County Jail. 

The Inmate Workforce Program allows low-level and non-violent offenders who qualify to leave the jail in an inmate workforce vehicle to do odd jobs for cities, government agencies and non-profit organizations.

“They will clean up cemeteries and schools by mowing, painting, pulling weeds or whatever needs to be done,” Coates said. “In fact, we got a call from the city of Dublin recently who asked us to help them get their swimming pool ready for the summer.”

Coates said the inmates are always supervised and are limited to working 20 hours per week.

There are currently two inmates participating in the program, but Coates plans to expand it by allowing certain offenders with sentences of less than two years to stay in Erath County.   

The move, Coates says, will reduce the time it takes to train the inmates and allow them to hone their skills to better prepare them for future jobs.

Coates said non-profit agencies and government entities who would like help with projects should contact the sheriff’s office.