There are not many days a Superior Court judge buys lunch for 17 state prison inmates.
But Thursday afternoon, Judge Bobby Peters did just that.
A Department of Corrections construction crew has been in Columbus for several months, working in the Government Center.
They have been renovating courtrooms, corridors and offices. This week they were putting the finishing touches on Peters’ ninth-floor courtroom. They have also remodeled his office, which he inherited from retired Judge Kenneth Followill.
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“I just wanted to thank them,” Peters said. “They have been diligent.”
Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington and Senior Judge John Allen joined the inmates for sandwiches, chips, ice cream and cake in the refurbished courtroom.
“These guys work all over the state, and they do quality work,” said Wetherington, a former Department of Corrections commissioner. “These guys are skilled carpenters, brick layers, heating and air folks and plumbers. When they work on a project, I can tell you the work is first class.”
It also comes at a cost savings to taxpayers.
“There’s no telling how much it would have cost otherwise,” Wetherington said.
The prisoners are housed at the Muscogee County prison while they are working in Columbus.
“It says a lot that these people have accepted the responsibility for what they have done,” Peters said. “Plus they have the empathy to renovate the courtrooms of some the very people who have sentenced them.”