McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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June 28, 2011

Sheriff delivers 300 pounds of vegeatables

McALESTER — The Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Department has delivered 300 pounds of vegetables from its new garden to the seniors of Kiowa.

Sheriff Joel Kerns and Undersheriff Richard Bedford delivered the vegetables, which were separated into 60 five-pound bags, to Kiowa Senior Center on Thursday.

The vegetables came from a garden program started by Kerns in March.

Kiowa Police Chief Tony Runyon was at the center when the vegetables were delivered. “I am happy our seniors can benefit from this program.” Runyon said.

Kerns spoke and encouraged the crowd of more than 25 seniors, who were gathered for lunch, to take a bag.

“I want you to please take a bag. And if you don’t want the vegetables for yourself, then please take one for someone who might like to have some good vegetables,” Kerns said.

Bedford, who carried in the 300 pounds of vegetables, said, “This program works and now we can give back to the community.”

“The Inmates Feeding Inmates Program” is the first of its kind for the Pittsburg County Jail.

Kerns said he started the program as a way to ease over-crowding in the jail and as a way to provide food for the inmates.

“Our  beds are full but by having hand-picked trustees actually work off their fines helps to keep the beds available for more offenders. To have someone in jail because of an unpaid $350 fine for six months costs the taxpayers more money than what the fine is worth, if you consider feeding clothing and housing,” Kerns said.

He said with this program, the offender can earn good time; two days served for every one day worked.

See more of the story in Tuesday’s issue of the McAlester News-Capital.

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