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Release Date: 02/21/12
Contacts: David Boyd, BLM Public Affairs Specialist, (970) 876-9008    
  Matt Lewis, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, (970) 244-3929    

Mesa County Sheriff program brings big benefits to BLM land (02-21-12)

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.  – Public land users in Mesa County are reaping the benefits of an alternative sentencing program under the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. 

Last year participants in the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office Workender Program contributed 3,239 hours of labor on Bureau of Land Management lands in the county maintaining and building trails and campgrounds, repairing fenceline, installing interpretive signs, and cleaning up illegal dumping areas.

The Workender Program allows criminal offenders to serve their sentences while still being able to support their families and retain their employment.  The Workender program operates seven days a week and provides a labor force for non-profit, charitable, and tax supported agencies.

“The work getting accomplished on BLM through this program has significantly contributed to our effective management of these lands,” said Michelle Bailey, BLM Grand Junction Assistant Field Manager for Recreation and Cultural. “The Workenders Program allows us to get much more work accomplished than we could otherwise. This benefits both the people who use public lands as well as the American taxpayer.”  

The BLM Grand Junction Field Office has been taking advantage of this program since 2009.

“We have enjoyed the working relationship that we have established with BLM,” said Connie Olson, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office Alternative Sentencing Unit Manager. “Since we need to find jobs to be completed by our inmate crews, having projects to complete for BLM has allowed the inmates to give back to our community, complete their court-ordered sentence and give them some pride in knowing their work is appreciated, not only by BLM personnel but the entire community.”

The Workender Program started in 2006 as a sentencing option for the judicial system.  Since its inception the program has continued to grow and partner with an ever expanding list of community businesses and organizations.  In 2011 the Workender Program was able to provide 21,513 man hours to organizations in Mesa County.

For more information about the Workender Program, go to

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

  2815 H Road      Grand Junction, CO 81506  

Last updated: 02-21-2012