Inmates helping to clean near Gateway Motorsports Park before big race

GRANITE CITY, IL - St. Clair county inmates are cleaning up the area around Gateway Motorsports Park in time for a big race this weekend. They are calling it a win-win for both sides.

The Bommarito Automotive Group 500 is this weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park. Crews are busy getting the inside ready and another is getting the outside ready. One crew is from the St. Clair County Jail.

"They earn the privilege to come out and do this. Inmates want to do the program. It gets them out of jail and gives them something to do," said Sheriff Rick Watson.

St. Clair County Sheriff Rick Watson has been doing this program for years with success. Mayors of cities will call and say they could use some help cleaning up an area. Gateway called and asked for some help before their big event.

"In this area, you have trucks going by; lots of businesses here. Trash accumulates here in the area. They want to clean it up and make it look nice for fans that come out to race," said Sheriff Rick Watson.

The inmates chosen for the program have misdemeanor offenses and are serving time less than a year. It is also a chance for the inmates to start doing something positive.

"Its a win-win for everybody. Communities benefit from it, the county benefits from it, even inmates benefit from it. They see a different way of life," said Sheriff Rick Watson.

When Sheriff Watson sends crews out to cities, he only asks that the group getting help feed the men and give them some gloves to work in.

"They don't come from the best situations. Just showing them a little respect, and that they are needed and wanted, means a lot to them," said Sheriff Rick Watson.

Sheriff Watson says he has men come through the program and get jobs.  He wants people to feel comfortable in hiring men that come through the program.