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Liberty Commission votes to keep inmate crews from using restrooms at parks

by Teresa Eubanks, Journal Editor

The restrooms in Liberty County parks are off limits to inmates on work crews following a unanimous vote by the Liberty County Commission at last week’s meeting in Bristol.

The issue came up at Thursday’s regular meeting after the board learned that just one day earlier, packages of cigarettes and synthetic marijuana were found hidden in the ceiling of the public bathroom at Estiffnulga Park where an inmate group had been assigned to work that day.

The board agreed to have each four-man inmate crew travel with their own porta-potty on the trailer pulled by their work truck.

“I don’t want my six-year-old grandson going to the park to play and finding something he don’t need,” said Commissioner Bo Sanders, who works as a correctional officer at Liberty Correctional Institute.

Sanders, who noticed an inmate work truck in Gadsden County equipped with its own porta-potty recently, said the problem of people hiding drugs and tobacco in public areas for the inmates to smuggle back into prison exists in every county in Florida.

“It’s hidden anywhere you can think of,” Sanders said, explaining that packets of contraband have been found in the culverts at Veterans Memorial Park in Bristol, inside trash cans and next to buildings, as well as in other county parks that crews have been sent to clean.

The board also agreed to change up the work squad schedules so inmates would not be able to tell others which park or area of the county they would be working.

According to the Liberty County Road Department, seven crews, each with two to four prison inmates, go out Monday through Thursday to maintain the county’s two ballfields and seven parks.

Doobie Hayes oversees inmate labor from the county jail, taking one crew with two or three inmates and a county employee out four days a week to maintain the county’s 32 cemeteries.

 

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Date
November 16th, 2017

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Staff

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