Though the men are serving sentences, they are not called inmates, but residents. They are allowed to leave the center every day to go to work. They pay a per diem fee to offset the boarding costs.
Even at 70- to 75-percent capacity, the WRC center is a success, because most of the residents have a job, Chandler said.
“I can make it 100 percent (full),” he said. “But it’s better to have a high employment rate than a high population rate.”
Chandler said the resident employment section of the program is the reason for an average employment rate of 92.25 percent.
Part of his three-year plan is to continue promoting the WRC as a work-ready labor force, and he is researching more ways to enhance employment opportunities and develop a partnership with local employers.
The plan also includes the goal of maintaining an average of 85-percent occupancy for the facility.
One of the questions Chandler gets asked almost every time he gives a presentation or a tour is “When will there be a facility for women?”
The WRC was built with 2006 special purpose, local option sales tax funds on the site of the old Floyd County stockade. Opened in March of 2009, the WRC gives men a chance to work and pay child support, fines and fees while living at the center.
Its success has led to the calls for a similar facility for women.
“If that’s something the taxpayers and the board of commissioners want, we will do it,” Chandler said.
In the annual report, Chandler included researching a women’s facility as one of the goals.
The WRC has been successful during its four-year run, collecting $557,437.10 just in 2012, according to the report. The total budget for the facility in 2012 was $918,000, Chandler said.
The facility also generates revenues for other government agencies through fines, fees and restitution. Residents at the center directly paid $49,331.47 in child support fees and $59,435.24 in child support garnishments.
“Through the combination of this collected revenue and savings, the Floyd County Work Release Center has been able to return well over 100 percent of its annual budget since its opening in 2009,” the annual report stated.