FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 11, 2007

CONTACT: Jim Lowney, 908-527-4711


Union County Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program
Logs 580,000 Hours Saving Union County $16.3 Million

ELIZABETH--The Union County Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program (SLAP) that puts minor criminal offenders to work instead of serving jail time has logged more than 580,000 labor hours in the last ten years saving county taxpayers $16.3 million, announced Union County Sheriff Ralph Froehlich.

The 14-year-old program is essentially a supervised public work program for people who have received mandatory sentences in municipal and superior courts.  This joint effort by the Union County Sheriff’s Office and the courts allows some minor, non-violent offenders to work off their sentence and avoid jail time. Sheriff's Officers have directed SLAP details in all 21 Union County municipalities. These details vary and may involve roadside cleanup, public golf course or park maintenance, painting of municipal buildings or other community oriented projects.

“This program so far has been an outstanding success,” said Sheriff Froehlich. “And I am confident it will continue to be an outstanding success because it is so positive in many ways.”

During the last decade, SLAP participants have logged 583,297 supervised labor hours. At $13 per hour, the minimum wage with benefits, the labor hours mean the county received $7,583,286 worth of work.

From 1997 to 2006, SLAP participants worked 79,237 daily assignments instead of spending those days in the county jail. Since incarceration in the jail costs the county upwards of $110 per day, per inmate, SLAP saved the county another $8,716,070. Thus SLAP has saved Union County $16,299,356 over the last ten years.

The Sheriff noted that the offender benefits also, because he or she is able to keep their job and remain at home with family instead of experiencing an unproductive period of incarceration. It also serves as a deterrent to future criminal behavior, he said.

“The violator pays his debt to society while doing a productive job for the county rather then being jailed at the taxpayers’ expense,” Sheriff Froehlich said. “It is a win/win program.”