Friday, March 14, 1997
Inmates help out,
shaving sentences

The Cincinnati Enquirer

CHILO - Taking a break from the arduous task of picking up debris left behind by the flooded Ohio River, Clermont County Jail inmate Derick Abshire thought about his crime.

''I just wanted to get out and get some sunshine and pay back some of the wrong I've done personally,'' said Mr. Abshire, who said Wednesday that he's serving a one-year term for a misdemeanor theft conviction.

30 volunteer in Clermont

Mr. Abshire, of Union Township in Clermont County, was one of 30 inmates who volunteered this week to help with the cleanup.

The minimum-security inmates, convicted of non-violent offenses, began their work Tuesday. They have been cleaning up in the Chilo- Neville area, but will move to New Richmond today, Sheriff Tim Rodenberg said.

Because of today's rainy forecast, the inmates will be helping business and home owners clean indoors.

The sheriff said the inmates may be helping out several weeks, as long as they are needed.

Much of the work involves hauling debris out of homes and yards of the disabled or elderly, Sheriff Rodenberg said. Clermont County Jail corrections officers are supervising the work.

Aside from the obvious benefit of being able to work in the outdoors, every two days of work shaves one day off the inmate's sentence, Sheriff Rodenberg said.

'Would do same for me'

Hamilton County inmates also are helping with the cleanup along Cincinnati's riverfront and in other affected areas, said Hamilton County sheriff's spokesman Col. Dan Wolfangel.

''I'd rather be helping doing this than sitting in jail,'' said David Weber of Felicity, who is serving a 90-day sentence in the Clermont jail for failing to pay child support. ''I'm not doing anybody any good in jail.''

He said he recognized many of the residents, and was glad he could pitch in and help.

''They would do the same for me, I'm sure.''