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  • Thu August 07 2008
  • Posted Aug 7, 2008
DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Scott County inmates put the finishing touches on a project Tuesday for Quad City kids. Chris Williams shows you what they're up to, and how their time behind bars is making a difference. Inside the Community Restoration building in Scott County, under the watchful eye of officer Don Rupe, inmates trade cell bars for handle bars, making a difference for area children in need. In three years, inmates have restored about 260 bikes including some which will go to children involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters. "It gives them a feeling that they really accomplished something," Rupe said about the inmates. Offenses run the gammit here, from driving violations to writing bad checks. None of these amateur bicycle mechanics are felons. The sheriff calls them nonviolent offenders. The more they work with the Community Restoration Program, the sooner they can breath free air. "These are guys that made a mistake and they're in here just giving back to the community in a different way, but no they're not all bad guys," Rupe commented. The inmates asked us not to videotape their faces, but they described why this duty makes them feel like they're righting a wrong. "It makes me feel good to be part of that you know make the kids feel good." One inmate said. "We're not bad people. We're just like everybody else." Another said. They'll go unrecognized for their work, heading back to jail after their shift is done here. They'll never get to see the look on the children's faces when they see their shiny new bikes for the first time. For Officer Rupe it's sort of like being that jolly old elf from the North Pole, minus the red suit. Rupe commented,"Do I feel like a Secret Santa? I do, but again I couldn't be a Secret Santa without my workers here." Adding, "My elves right there." While some inmates do return to jail after their released, we're told, those who take part in the bicycle program typically stay on the straight and narrow. Those bicycles go to the kids Wednesday night.

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