Going to jail and doing Army duty

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It used to be, “Go in the Army or go to jail.” Delinquents in Missouri might have to do both.

Under a proposed work release program, Missouri inmates would become part of the National Guard’s formal state emergency response plan–filling up sandbags and shoring up levies.

Before they count on prisoners to help during disasters, guardsmen would teach the convicts how to fill and stack sandbags and remove debris,  The Associated Press reported.

It’s not a new model, as inmates have helped reinforce levies along flooding rivers in Missouri in years past.  But a signed agreement between the Missouri Guard and the Department of Corrections would make future efforts official.

Estimates for the program’s cost, or when the proposal could be signed, have not been released.

Robbers, kidnappers, rapists and inmates who, at one point, have attempted to escape incarceration won’t be out tossing sandbags. Initial eligibility criteria for the program disqualifies violent offenders.

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