MORGAN COUNTY, Ind. -- The Morgan County Jail Correction Crew gives inmates a chance to give back to the community for what they have taken in a special type of work release program.
“They’re non-violent offenders. A lot have addiction issues. That’s probably 80 percent of what our population is. Some of them have theft. But, we don’t take anyone that has protective orders, battery cases, robbery cases, those types of crimes,” said Volitta Fritsche, administrator of the Morgan County Jail Work Release & Jail Corrections Programs.
“We don’t believe there’s bad people, we just believe they make bad choices,” added Fritsche.
Inmates in the program work five to six days a week in 14 different locations in Morgan County.
And for every seven days worked, they get one day off their sentence.
For most of the inmates it’s not about getting time off their sentence, but about acclimating to life outside of jail.
“It’s an opportunity for us to get back on our feet again and get in the routine of getting out and living that normal life. And I enjoy it,” said Catherine, an inmate at the Morgan County Jail.
Catherine, in jail because of a drug addiction, said she works six days a week: two days at the senior center; two days at Habitat for Humanity; and two days at the Morgan County Humane Society.
She said she was originally given a release date of Feb. 7 but that has been moved up to Jan. 7 thanks to her time in the program.
Catherine added that once she is out of jail she wants to continue serving the community and showing her three children about the importance of giving back.
“I am a mom and I think it would be cool for me and my kids to do something volunteer-wise with the animals or whatever, as a way of keeping me busy,” said Catherine.
In the spirit of the season, the Correction Crew has been working non-stop to make sure scares happen at Hall’s Haunted Halls.
“It makes me feel like I can give back to the community and not just take from the community. Like I can do things for other people and it makes me feel good about myself,” said Jacob Sager, who is in jail for a probation violation.
“We’ve done a lot! We built the maze outside and we’re waiting for people to come and see so we can scare them,” added Robert Mathers, who is in jail for contempt of court.
The Morgan County Jail Correction Crew not only provides fright-seekers with Halloween thrills, but they also keep the historic building which houses Hall’s Haunted Halls alive.
“If it wasn’t for the CC program through the Morgan County Jail, it would be very difficult, because this is our biggest fundraiser,” said Randy Marsh, president of the Hall Civic Association.
Marsh added, “I can’t say enough good about them. They help out Morgan County and the other associations I’m involved with. They are always there. You see them everywhere and they’re making it happen.”
Marsh said even after inmates are out of jail, they still come back to help with building Hall’s Haunted Halls.
“We establish relationships and they come back and help when we need it. They leave their numbers and say, ‘If you need some help, call me, we’d be glad to give back to the community,'” said Marsh.
It’s no doubt these inmates are hard workers: Since the end of August, it’s been a six-day-a-week job putting the haunted house together.
“It brings a smile to your face to know you’re a part in the creation of all these little kids getting scared and they’re excited to come and see it. It just makes you smile,” said Sager.
At the time we spoke with him, Sager said he had one more day until his court date to decicde when he will be released.
His plans following release? “I’m going to change my life and do right,” said Sager. Because everyone deserves a second chance.
Hall’s Haunted Hall opens Friday, Oct. 6 at 7:00 p.m. and will continue every Friday and Saturday throughout October from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m.
If you want to go, you can find this spooky haunted house at 5955 West Hurt Road in Monrovia, Indiana.
Admission is $10 if tickets are purchased online at hallcivic.org and $12 at the door.
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