Think downtown Kennewick looks cleaner? You can thank local inmates!

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- For the first time ever, inmates are being put to work in the middle of Kennewick.

The old saying true: "The only thing that overcomes hard luck... is hard work."

Victor Losey's story proves it. The proud dad is righting his past wrongs not by sitting in a jail cell, but by making downtown Kennewick better for everyone.

"It feels good sweating and doing hard working hard," Losey tells KEPR.

Every Monday, from late Spring to early Fall, Losey is one of a nearly a dozen inmates cleaning up downtown Kennewick. It's all part of a work crew program that puts non-violent offenders to work instead having them serve time in jail.

KEPR asks Losey, "did you jump at immediately?"
"Yes," he says. "I can relax with my girl and my kid and do something good for the community."

This is the first summer local work crews have cleaned up downtown Kennewick. It's allowed to the city to save thousands in landscaping costs because ex-cons are working for free.

"The effort they put in the job is rewarded through the thanks we get from the community," says Matthew Gunderson, Benton County Sheriff's.

The improvements don't end in downtown Kennewick. Work crew members are also cleaning up the Benton County Fairgrounds ahead of this month's fair. They also spend a great deal of time at the Toyota Center.

"In jail I cannot be a father, so I thank the community for allowing me to be on the work crew." Losey tells Action News.

The work crew program is only offered to people with lesser crimes like DUI's and shoplifting.