The mission of all of the inmate labor programs is to teach inmates the proper safety and common industry practices along with the principles of positive work ethics in an effort to enhance the reintegration of the inmates into society. All supplies including the start up costs of all programs are obtained from federal grant funds and sustained through inmate welfare fund.
The Pasco Sheriff’s Office has initiated a number of programs designed to save taxpayer’s dollars, raise the work ethic of selected inmates and give them a productive way to spend their court-ordered sentences. The Inmate Labor Section consists of four units, Inmate Labor, Laundry, Facility Maintenance and Operation Payback. Inmate Labor is responsible for the overall cosmetic maintenance of Detention Central, the upkeep of the facility grounds and the supervision of the assigned programs.
This unit supervises the following programs:
- Ornamental Plant
- Grounds Maintenance
The Operation Payback Program is designed to have a defendant, once sentenced, “give back” (community service) to the citizens of this county, for the crime they have committed in our county. This program is designed to have the defendant serve two days a week at a Pasco County Government work site, completing work as directed by the office supervisor.
Operation Payback Program
During the year 2012, the Operation Payback Program had an average of 67 defendants participating in the program each month of the year. The Operation Payback Defendants completed 51,200 hours of labor for Pasco County. These hours benefited 22 facilities located throughout Pasco County, as well as many special community events. This was a cost savings to our taxpayers of $409,088.00 at an employee hourly rate of $7.99. The Operation Payback Program also saves a conservative estimate of $64.00 each day on the cost to house an inmate in the detention facility. This provides an additional cost savings of $409,600.00. We have combined the savings of the OPB labor and the housing cost savings, which yielded a savings to the citizens of Pasco County of $818,688.00.
The Agricultural Program is an inmate based, “conventional” garden, which consists of a 3.5 acre tract. The garden has provided the Detention Culinary Unit in 2012 with the following yield, 15,465 heads of cabbage valued at $16,238.25.
The Nutrient Film Technique Hydroponics Program has a capacity of 9,660 plants. While in operation, harvesting is conducted five days a week. Each day 460 heads of lettuce are harvested. Each head of lettuce produced provides a savings of approximately $1 to the Culinary Unit. Annually, this program produces a savings of $119,600. In 2012, this program provided the Detention Culinary Unit with a yield of 26,449 heads of Romaine lettuce and 11,746 heads of Bib lettuce for a total value of $74,670.18.
Average Costs Per Month
- Oasis cubes $428.00
- Assorted seeds $141.00
- Fertilizer $110.20
- Oxidate $100.00
- Calcium Nitrates $17.90
- Miscellaneous costs $74.00
Total Costs Per Month $871.10
Vertical Drip Verti-gro Hydroponics Program
In 2008, the bureau started a new inmate-based hydroponics system. The new system is a vertical drip system, which requires less space than the conventional system. The Vertical Drip Verti-gro system has a capacity of 4,000 plants. This hydroponics system provided the Culinary Unit in 2012 with 132 pounds of Basil and 61 pounds of Jalapenos. As a result, the Culinary Unit realized a savings of $810.17. Since January 2009, we have grown beef steak tomatoes, grape tomatoes, Bib lettuce, Romaine lettuce, bell peppers, Jalapenos, squash, cucumbers, collards, eggplant, thyme, basil, parsley, garlic and sage.
Average Costs Per Month
- Fertilizer $110.20
- Nitrate $85.80
- Seeds $31.58
- Insecticide $15.00
- Soil $41.66
- Perilite $20.83
Total Costs Per Month $305.07
Start up costs of $21,757.46 included one 42′ X 80′ shade house, plant system irrigation, electrical and chemical dispersing area.
The Swine Program is an inmate-based program which raises swine to be infused into our Culinary Unit. The bureau has an arrangement with the Manatee Sheriff’s Office to process our swine. The bureau sent 67 pigs to the Manatee Sheriff’s Office in 2008, which yielded 10,244 pounds of processed pork. The pork was infused into our Culinary Unit for a savings of $13,113.66. Currently there are 250 pigs on the farm. During the year 2012, the swine program produced 4,834 pounds of meat for a savings of $14,621.13. The average costs per month include feed, supplies and veterinarian costs for a total of $546.94. The start up cost of the program was $44,763.76 and included four 16′ X50′ pen structures with water and electrical.
In 2009, the bureau created a Cattle Program with 27 cows on the property. There are approximately 45 acres of grazing land used for the program. This program has been augmented with donations from local farmers who have donated hay, cows and expertise. The start up costs were $6,256.06 including the fencing in three separate pastures, water supply and shelters. The costs per month for feed, medications and veterinarian fees total $242.00. During the year 2012, 14 head of cattle were sent to the Manatee Sheriff’s Office for processing. This produced 9,287 pounds of eat valued at $37,592.00.
Ornamental Plant Program
The bureau created an Ornamental Plant program in 2009. The plants will be grown within a grow house on-site at the farm. The program will be used to augment and enhance the grounds maintenance program and conduct horticulture training for the inmate. The future plans for the program may include sales to the public to generate funds to sustain and build our inmate labor programs.
Average Costs Per Month
- Clippings $25.00
- Soil $250.00
- Insecticide $25.00
- Perilite $42.00
Total Costs Per Month $380.00
Start up costs were $7,218.47 which included one 25′ X 36′ green house, eight 4′ X12′ plant tables, irrigation and electrical.
The Grounds Maintenance Program was designed to train inmates for potential employment upon release from incarceration. The program instructs inmates in the proper handling and use of common commercial landscaping equipment to include preventative maintenance and servicing of the equipment. Additionally, the program is used to maintain the grounds of the facility, thereby creating a savings to the citizens of Pasco County.
The laundry unit is responsible for laundering and issuance of clean linens, clothing and shoes to the inmate population. The Laundry Unit operates 5 days a week 8.5 hours a day. The Laundry Unit utilizes inmates classified as inmate workers, to assist with the daily laundry operation. Under the supervision of three deputies, these inmate workers sort, wash, dry, fold and and put away approximately 4,000 pounds of clothing and linen on an average day. The clean laundry is dispersed to the inmate population bi-weekly under the direction and supervision of staff. During the year, 1 million pounds of clothing and linen was laundered.
Within this unit is the Inmate Sewing Program, which makes sheets and pillow cases. They also repair clothing, mattresses, and pillows for the inmate population.
Inmate Sewing Program
This program was implemented to offset costs associated with the purchasing of inmate linens and bedding items. Sheets and pillow cases are produced on-site from bulk material purchased at discounted pricing. Also, we are able to salvage and repair items at minimal costs. Additionally, this program is used to educate and provide skills to the inmate workers in regards to tailoring, manufacturing and repairing products.