The county commission of every county is authorized to establish, operate and maintain a county work farm to be operated in connection with the county jail and to be used for the confinement of prisoners assigned thereto as hereinafter provided. The county commission is authorized to purchase land and other property in connection with the establishment of a work farm and to construct buildings, fences and other facilities and to acquire any personal property necessary to maintain and operate the work farm. The cost of the farm shall be paid out of the general county fund or out of any other funds available to the county commission for that purpose.
The county commission is authorized to make needed improvements and repairs for the proper upkeep of the work farm and provide for the necessary food, medical treatment and safekeeping of the prisoners. The work farm shall be operated in conjunction with the county jail. The sheriff of the county shall be responsible for and have the same control of the prisoners assigned to the work farm as he or she has over the prisoners confined in the county jail and shall make any rules necessary for the care and treatment of prisoners assigned thereto, and shall take proper care for their discipline, diet, clothing and safety. He or she shall also determine the type and amount of labor each prisoner performs, and shall perform all other duties with regard to the prisoners confined at the work farm as he or she is required to perform with regard to prisoners in the county jail. He or she may assign deputies, correctional officers or home incarceration supervisors as guards as may be necessary to supervise and insure the safekeeping of the prisoners. Prisoners committed to the work farm shall be required to perform those duties and labor as are reasonably permitted by their physical and mental condition. Provision shall be made for truck and vegetable gardens to be tended by the prisoners, and for the raising of fruit, hogs, poultry and other farm products as can be economically and profitably produced. All food products produced on the work farm shall be used first for feeding prisoners at the work farm or county jail, and any surplus may be used at any other county institution.
The county commission shall employ a superintendent for the county work farm, whose duty will be to supervise the work done and to care for and maintain the property and equipment used in connection therewith and who shall serve until his or her successor is employed as hereinafter provided. The superintendent shall also keep an accurate record of the number of prisoners confined at the county work farm and an accurate record of the cost of operating the work farm and shall make a report thereof to the county commission as the court may require, but at least twice each year. He or she shall also keep a record of the farm products produced on the farm and of the disposition of the products. The superintendent and his or her assistants shall be employed by the county commission on the written recommendation of the sheriff: Provided, That the county commission may not employ any superintendent or assistant superintendent unless it is satisfied that he or she possesses the high character, appropriate ability and energy suitable for that employment.
The judge of the circuit court or other court having jurisdiction for the trial of felony cases in the county may, upon his or her own motion or upon application of any prisoner confined in the county jail either in term time or in vacation, transfer any prisoner confined in the county jail except those under conviction for a felony to the work farm or transfer any prisoner confined at the work farm to the county jail. Proper order shall be entered in the order book of the court of the action. In sentencing any person to the county jail the judge may stipulate in the order of sentence whether the person shall be confined in the county jail or confined at the work farm. This provision, however, may not be construed to give authority to magistrates, judges of police courts or mayors of municipalities to sentence persons to the work farm or to transfer persons from the county jail to the work farm.
Any inmate of the work farm who escapes therefrom shall be punished under the same provisions of law as if he or she had escaped from the county jail.