~By Eva Botkin-Kowacki, Recorder Intern
White will work an auto detailing job with Mastroianni Auto Body in Springfield. The vocational auto detailing program implemented by the Franklin County Sheriff's Office made this possible.
The Sheriff's Office began this program as a way for inmates to gain vocational skills and earn money to help them return to society. All inmates must earn a place in the jail's minimum security facility and workforce through good behavior.
A wash and vacuum costs $15 and the inmates earn $3. The rest of the money goes to purchase the products from Detail King. A wash, wax and vacuum or wash and complete interior cleaning costs $25; an inmate earns $6. A complete detail reconditioning costs $70 and represents $15 for an inmate.
During a pilot period of one year, inmates worked on jail vehicles to test the program. The service has been open to the public for a year and a half. The program services five to 15 cars each week. Two Officers attended a four-day course with Detail King in Pittsburgh, PA, to learn how to teach the inmates. One or both of them oversees all operations.
An inmate works for a period of six months before graduating from the program with a vocational certificate representing the same training of a technical or vocational school.
White has been in the program for two months. He is working to accelerate the program because he will be released before six months have passed.
"I like the challenge," White said, adding he is especially proud when he and the other two workers tackle an especially dirty and grimy car. He makes sure the vehicle leaves looking like it is new again.
On Thursday, the team detailed a brown 1986 Mercedes with leather seats. White said when the car arrived, the roof was black. When they were doen, the original beige color had emerged again.
"I like putting in a good day's work and being proud of what I've done." White said even if the overseeing Officer says the job is done, he will continue to work until the car is pristine. "I do every car like it's my own car."