Allegany County inmates could leave jail to work

Tony Washer

A committee of Allegany County Legislators are supporting an idea that would allow certain inmates at the Allegany County Jail to leave, go to work and return behind bars.

Allegany County Sheriff William Tompkins was at the public safety committee meeting to discuss a number of items with legislators, including the proposal of a work-release program for prisoners.

The sheriff explained the program as a way to let some who are incarcerated still maintain their jobs by allowing them to leave for the day to go to work and return back to the jail in the evening.

“It gives the court another option for sentencing,” Tompkins said. “We will have another avenue (for sentencing) that still allows them to keep their job.”

The sheriff said the county would not have to provide transportation to the inmates, who would have to arrange for it themselves.

Tompkins said Allegany County District Attorney Terrence Parker came to him with the idea. Parker said he was not sure if the sheriff was required to bring it to the county legislature, however Tompkins told the committee, “I think it’s the best practice to move it through the legislature.”

Committee unanimously passed the motion.

Sheriff Tompkins also gave the committee an update on the housing of federal inmates at the Allegany County jail.

“Currently there are 21 federal inmates,” Tompkins said. “Things are going pretty well.”

Tompkins said within the last week and a half, deputies and corrections officers have been moving the federal prisoners out of what is known as “A pod” into the general population.

Tompkins added that the housing of the current number of federal inmates at the Allegany County jail has generated $54,000 dollars in funds per month.

Legislators were informed by the sheriff that upgrades for the shooting range building is needed. Tompkins told the committee he was not asking for funding at that time.

Brent Reynolds, R-Alfred, asked if there were neighbors near by. The sheriff said he had been in contact with residents near the range.

“All the neighbors said they would be in favor of having the sheriff’s facility up there,” Tompkins said, referring to residents on the Commons Road in Angelica. “It is my intention to have all our officers train in firearms so we can use them to help transport prisoners as well.”