Work Crew is an alternative sentencing program designed to reduce jail overcrowding by providing minimum risk offenders a work option to meet court obligations to include: fines, program fees, community service, and jail sentences.
In addition to screening, Corrections staff monitors the type of work assigned and ensures that offenders complete their assigned tasks.
Offender Work Crews were developed in response to maintenance needs in the community and overcrowding at the Jail. The first Crew used in-custody offenders who returned to jail each night. Eventually, the program shifted to also include an out-of-custody program supervised by Offender Services.
Referrals to the Work Crew program come from the courts and provide sentencing alternatives to serving time in jail, as well as providing work that is beneficial to the community.
The community is improved, the agencies using the Work Crew save money, and the offenders gain job skills. One of the program's goals is to help offenders learn new skills so they can get in a line of work and break the chain that keeps them in the criminal justice system. Many offenders don't even have basic life skills, such as setting an alarm clock, dressing for the job, and using appropriate language.
Work Crew participants find that participating in Work Crew is rewarding and an effective way of being responsible for the fines and/or jail sentence they owe.
One participant said, "I consider Work Crew a privilege and opportunity to work off fines."
Another stated that he would recommend Work Crew to others because, "it may give some people an opportunity to learn work ethics, possibly for the first time."
Offenders are assigned to a crew and are supervised by a Work Crew Supervisor. The crew of six to eight people includes men and women, many of whom request the assignment because they prefer outdoor work. Work sites include non-profit organizations, many of which have a minimal amount of funding. Work includes cleaning and fixing up local roads and parks, picking up litter and earning rave reviews from the agencies that contract for its services.
"I have been very impressed with the County Work Crew's willingness to take on some not fun jobs -- such as clearing out garbage and junk from abandoned vehicles -- on fairly short notice," said Cindy Lopez, Longview Police Department community service officer.
"It's good to know we can rely on the County Work Crew to help us do our jobs. We really appreciate the service the Work Crew provides to Longview Police Dept."
"The Work Crew proves invaluable in our grounds work at the School District. They can accomplish in one day what would take us a week to do,"said Lynn Axtell, Kalama School District.