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County OKs inmate work pact with Rincon
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Effingham County commissioners have approved a contract to provide an inmate work crew and a guard for the city of Rincon.

Commissioners voted to accept changes in the contract at their July 23 meeting, after both sides tabled the agreement earlier. They agreed to Rincon’s insistence that the corrections officer provided for the inmate work detail and the work crew would be tasked solely for Rincon.

“That was at their behest,” said County Administrator Toss Allen. “They wanted to make sure we weren’t using it for other business.”
Rincon City Council has not taken up the new contract.

Also among the changes is a stipulation to account for days lost to inclement weather. The warden will make the decision to send out the crew if the weather is inclement, but if the rain is scattered or anticipated to end shortly, every effort will be made to have the work crew dispatched. Allen said that clause is the same as that in the state Department of Corrections’ standard operating procedures.

Rincon officials also urged the county to include a clause on sovereign immunity. While the county will supply the transportation to and from the prison, the city will pay for the vehicle’s insurance and also supply all the tools and equipment for the crew.

The city also will reimburse the county for the corrections officer’s annual salary, approximately $46,000, and the county will provide a substitute officer if the assigned officer misses more than 15 days of work.

Each side also will have a 90-day out, meaning they can end the agreement with a 90-day notice. Rincon’s city council asked the county to consider putting such a clause into the contract.

The inmate work crew will range from eight to 12 prisoners. Effingham County has a similar arrangement with Bryan County for an inmate work crew.

Rincon currently uses inmates for a variety of tasks around the city, but this crew likely will spend the bulk of its time performing duties for the city’s public works department.