Wise County taxpayers seeing over $1 million in savings thanks to “Wise Works” program
The Wise Works Program is working for taxpayers since its 2017 launch.
According to Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp, Wise Works, which is an alternative sentencing program that orders low risk, non-violent offenders to complete supervised community service rather than serving jail time, has saved taxpayers over one million dollars.
The way the program works is qualifying defendants in criminal cases can request to complete their full or partial sentence through community service rather than spending that time in jail. Defendants then are assigned a set number of days as a designated work site. Random drug tests are also administered during the individual’s time in the program.
The Board of Supervisors created the program in late 2017 at the request of Slemp, and currently 55 participants work jobs in the program at a number of sites across the area including the Wise County Animal Shelter, and Wise County Housing Authority. While avoiding jail time, participants can also receive help with things such as job skill training and substance abuse treatment.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp said in the release, “We have seen lives positively impacted and futures transformed. Not only does this program offer job training, workforce development and an opportunity to turn people’s lives around, taxpayers save on the cost of housing inmates, local towns and non-profit organizations save on labor costs, and participants learn the value of hard work.”