Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Inmates find outdoor work more rewarding than sitting inside a cell

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  • Jeremy Rickey and Mike Robinson are each on the downhill slope of year-long jail sentences in Marion County for probation violations.
    “I’m glad we’re where we are right now,” Rickey said Tuesday afternoon, while he and his “pod mate” and friend were participating in a work release program at the Palmyra courthouse.
    “It’s a blessing to get a chance to sober up and get back to who you were before ‘it’ intervened,” Rickey said.
    The ‘it’ he referred to is addiction. “A lot of people fall prey to it.”
    Jimmy Shinn, Marion County sheriff, said that the most dangerous time for his staff and inmates comes during the first 48 hours of incarceration, when those arrested are coming down from a drug or alcohol induced high.
    “After 48 hours, we get food in them and they start thinking rational. You start to see a change in them.
    “There are some good people back there in the jail. It is very rewarding, I enjoy dealing with inmates. When I get people in here, they are strung out on meth or heroine. I see the changes in them one week at a time. The difference in their personalities over time is unbelievable,” he said.
    Jeremy Rickey agrees. “Some of the funniest people you ever meet in your life are in jail,” he said.
    “Jimmy treats everybody the same, Robinson - who earlier in his life served 21 years in the state penitentiary, said. “Jimmy and I went to school together.”
    The sheriff believes that all inmates are to be treated with respect, and believes that respect will be returned in kind.
    “They are no different than you and me,” Shinn added.
    “Jimmy don’t realize how many lives he’s saved,” Robinson said. “He’s one of the best sheriffs we’ve had.”
    “He’s a good man,” Rickey said. “You don’t like the authority when you’re in jail. But you meet these guys (deputies and jail employees) and talk to them on a daily basis. They are a good bunch of guys. I’m pretty fond of Jimmy.”
    Work project
    Rickey and Robinson, who have served most of their county jail sentences together, appreciate the trust that the sheriff and Judge John Jackson have placed in them. They work the car detail, washing the department’s cars and trucks, they have mowed the grass at the jail this summer, and this fall they pruned the trees around the jail.
    Page 2 of 2 - And the project the sheriff is most proud of is the newly sealed asphalt driveway and parking lot at the jail.
    “They sealed it and restriped it at zero labor cost to the county. It had never been sealed before,” Shinn said.
    Rickey said he and Robinson talked the sheriff into letting them seal the asphalt. “It gives the asphalt what it wants,” he said. “It should be done every two-to-three years.”
    “It restores the texture,” Robinson added.
    Shinn said the cost of materials was $1,700.
    As his sentence winds down, Rickey is reflective of how he will address life’s stresses and temptations once he is on the other side of the jail door.
    “I think I’m more likely to succeed doing a longer amount of time,” he said, serving a year rather than a few months.
    “It gives me time to think what could have been, rather than what was. When you miss your kid’s birthday, you get to thinking what a big piece of crap you were,” Rickey said. “If that don’t do it ... But everybody makes mistakes.”
    “Mistakes definitely give you character,” Robinson added.
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