New mattress program saves tax payers thousands of dollars - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

New mattress program saves tax payers thousands of dollars

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The padding from old or ripped mattresses is re-used. It costs the jail about $20 to recover the padding, versus buying a new one for $80-$90. The padding from old or ripped mattresses is re-used. It costs the jail about $20 to recover the padding, versus buying a new one for $80-$90.
MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

A new program at the Madison County Jail is saving your taxpayer dollars by the thousands. The jail now makes their own mattresses instead of buying them from a contractor. The mattress factory has already saved nearly $75,000 in just over a year.

"We've run about 1,000 mattresses through," said Madison County Jail Chief Steve Morrison.

The padding from old or ripped mattresses is re-used. It costs the jail about $20 to recover the padding, versus buying a new one for $80-$90.

Sergeant Betty Davey operates and came up with the idea for the mattress factory. She said just about every bit of trash is turned into treasure at the jail.

"Going to save about $73,000 this year," said Morrison. "So that is a substantial amount of taxpayer dollars that we've been able to put back in the coffer."

Even tattered towels see new life. A ripped up towel can usually be transformed into about four face cloths, but the savings isn't just in the recycling. The inmates who make these beds are the very ones who will lie in them.

"I've put people in here who haven't even seen a sewing machine before, doesn't even know what a foot pedal is," said Sgt. Davey.

For inmate, Kenneth Romeo, the stitching and threading is far from busy work.

"I think I could go in to the community sewing somewhere, do upholstery work," said Romeo.

It's the opportunity for a future paycheck when he leaves.

"Giving them an avenue, something to think about," said Davey. "Something they may not have thought about before. That is something like, ‘hey I can do this.'"

"It puts a smile on my face at least knowing I am doing something good and useful instead of sitting around in the dorm, cell doing nothing and wasting time," said another inmate.

It's a program that measures up to savings for you and a different kind of savings for people like Romeo.

"It saved my life," said Romeo.

The mattress factory inside Madison County jail is the envy of other jails in the state. Since presenting the idea at a conference earlier this year, others have asked for advice on starting a program of their own.

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