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Published September 29, 2010, 07:59 PM

Cuts To Sentenced To Serve Programs

Minnesota has cut funding to many programs as an effort to deal with budget deficits. One of those programs is "sentenced to serve." It was developed 30 years ago as a way to deal with over-crowded jails.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

Ramps for the disabled, picnic tables, even the Pennington County grandstand were built by low risk inmates in the Northwest Sentenced to Serve program. Which includes Kittson, Marshall, and Pennington counties.

"Nearly 20 years, if not 20 years as the Northwest Sentence to Serve. It's been a tremendous asset for our region, in sand bagging, there's just a number of things these inmates do," Sheriff Mike Hruby said.

Because of the budget deficit in Minnesota Sheriff Mike Hruby says about $50,000 has been cut from their STS program.

Hruby says they will have to look for other funding including help from the counties in order to keep the program going.

"Whether they can find the difference in money they need to come up with or not, that's a bigger picture in the budget issues for each county," Hruby said.

While there are expenses like supervision, tools, equipment, and transportation, the program does save the counties big money. Last year $28,000 STS labor hours between the counties meant less days of housing inmates.

Because of the work that is done and money saved in the long run, Hruby expects to get the county's support when searching for dollars to maintain the program.