Cleaning Up Fulton
Low-paying or not, the landfill job is a plus for Horton who has few other employment options as an inmate at Fulton's Reception and Diagnostic Center.
"It gives them a little bit of a nest egg for when they get out, to help with housing and transportation," said Brian Hauswirth, spokesman for the Missouri Department of Corrections.
Horton is part of a supervised work-release program, which the corrections department and the city started in April.
"There's a list of real strict requirements for the participants to come out here," said City Administrator Bill Johnson. "They have to be real close to their release date."
Workers must also be non-violent offenders.
"First-degree murder, arson, rape, kidnapping, the serious offenses, sodomy, sexual assault, those folks are automatically excluded," explained Hauswirth.
"They're well-screened," added Johnson. "The citizens don't need to worry about who we have out here."
As Hauswirth noted, "97% are going to leave our institution. Our attitude is we want them to leave, we don't want them to come back, we want them to have some job skills."
And, Johnson said, "If FRDC could work it out, we would take individuals in some of the other departments. We have a large amount of mowing that needs to be done at the golf course, a lot of care that needs to be done at the cemeteries."
Horton and another inmate work at the landfill, where the foreman supervises them.
"A lot of the residents were complaining about trash," recalled Hauswirth. "Those complaints have certainly been reduced since this program started."
The Department of Corrections does spot checks once a week to monitor inmates' behavior and progress.