Local News

SBI Investigates Claims Of Warren Prisoners Doing Yard Work At Private Homes

Posted February 3, 2005

— Inmates at Warren County's detention center usually spend a lot of time behind bars, but there are questions about how much time some have spent out of jail and at the homes of some prominent county officials.

"Cleaning houses and mowing grass at houses that did not belong to the county and taking care of personal property, which is an abuse of privilege and abuse of status," Warren County commissioner Jan Humphries said.

Humphries is upset about a letter from the attorney of a jailed teenager who claims he had to do yard work at a private home before he was ever convicted.

In affadavits, other former inmates said they loaded wood, cut grass and cut up a tree at the home of County Manager Loria Williams. The State Bureau of Investigation is now working to find out whether the former inmates are telling the truth.

WRAL asked Sheriff Johnny Williams about what he calls his "work release program," but he declined to comment. However, Humphries wants to know.

"We do not have a work release program in Warren County. It ended over five years ago and any of this information coming forward as work release can't be," Humphries said.

Humphries wants the matter out in the open.

"Everybody at this point is still covering up for everybody else, but I can tell you without a doubt that my house has never been cleaned by an inmate and if yours was, then you should be ashamed of yourself," she said.

An attorney for the teenager accused of cleaning Williams' yard said the complaint dates back to 2002. Williams was out of town and not able for comment.


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