Inmate Concrete Polishing Training Program at Hopkins County Jail.

Hopkins County Jail, near Madisonville, Ky., has turned a need into an opportunity. Looking for a solution to replace tiles throughout the facility, head jailer Joe Blue decided polished concrete was a viable option and began looking at concrete floor grinders and polishers. He recognized this was an opportunity for the inmates to develop a skill they could use when they have left prison.

"Our head jailer, Joe Blue, had been looking for something to try to do away with the tile we have in the jail," said Sgt. Billy Thomas. "He got to looking at concrete grinders and polishers. He went through WerkMaster and bought a machine, and they pointed him to Braxton-Bragg for the training.”

After reviewing a number of planetary designed machines, Blue recognized the features and benefits of WerkMaster's Octi-Disc Technology best suited their needs. According to Blue, he chose the Raptor XT Concrete Grinder Polisher because of its unique versatility and features.

Inmates in the jail's community service program are now benefiting from training in the use of the WerkMaster Raptor XT under the supervision of Thomas and deputy Donnie Barnett who had attended WerkMaster's Certified Concrete Polishing Training School at Braxton-Bragg in Knoxville, Tenn.

The training that Barnett and Thomas offer the inmates is hands-on, like they received themselves at Braxton-Bragg. “The classroom may not be their strong point, so we’re just doing hands-on instruction,” Thomas said. “We will take the machine, explain how to operate it, how to test the concrete — all the particulars. Most of them learn better in that way than in a classroom setting.”

Barnett is confident in the growth of the program in the future. “Once we get everything going right, it will be a great thing,” he said. “I believe that we’ll see it take off a whole lot over the next two years in this part of the country.”

The effort to teach skills to the inmates is already paying off, Thomas said. “We’ve had several that came back in and asked for Deputy Barnett or myself and said ‘Hey, I appreciate what you done for me. I learned a lot from you. I put it to use. I’m staying out of trouble. I’m doing good now.”

For more information, visit werkmaster.com.