CARROLL COUNTY, Ga. - Neighbors in a Carroll County community are raising concerns after seeing chainsaw-wielding inmates working in a neighborhood full of children.
Lesa Zaikowski told Channel 2’s Sophia Choi that she couldn’t believe what she was seeing, right across the street from her home in the Azalea Hills subdivision so she grabbed her phone and started documenting.
“I was shocked. I just couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that they were even in here. Then to be left with those chainsaws,” Zaikowski said.
She shared photos and video with Choi that she shot Feb. 5 showing six inmates cutting down trees, using chainsaws.
Her biggest concern: the children in her neighborhood, including her own daughter.
“There’s an elementary school up here on the corner,” Zaikowski said.
Choi took Zaikowski’s concerns to the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, which runs the program.
“On this particular day, there had been some wood cut. And they were removing the wood from the right of way,” said Chief Deputy Brad Robinson.
Robinson said the incident was a good use of inmate labor and the inmates were helping to revamp the Carrollton Police Department.
“They’re supervised very closely by a guard,” Robinson said.
Carroll County inmates on work detail, must meet these requirements: no medical conditions, no attempted escapes and no history of violence.
“They’re going to be in here, for maybe a probation violation or a DUI or something like that,” Robinson told Choi.
Still, Zaikowski doesn’t want them so close to her home.
“Not right across from my home, seeing when I’m leaving, when I might be home. My children,” Zaikowski said.
Carroll County started using inmates for outside work in 2001.
Robinson said in all that time, they had two inmate escapes, and both were caught within days. He said it’s a good program and it will continue.
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