FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (CBS Local) — Former Arkansas state Senator Jon Woods and 79 other inmates at a Texas federal prison are offering to help build President Donald Trump’s promised border wall. The ex-lawmaker sent a letter to the president with the bold suggestion.
Woods included the prisoners’ skill sets and nationalities alongside their signatures. Several are listed as welders, crane operators or general laborers.
“Our group hails from all aspects of American society with a common goal of border stability,” Woods wrote in the Nov. 8 letter to Trump, who has promised to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to discourage illegal crossings.
Woods, 41, is serving an 18-year sentence at Federal Medical Center Fort Worth, a low-security facility in Fort Worth, Texas, for steering state funds to Ecclesia College in Springdale, Arkansas, in exchange for kickbacks. The former Republican lawmaker is also expected to pay more than $1.6 million in restitution.
Woods asked the president to consider cutting the inmates’ sentences “if called into action.”
But some of the inmates who signed the letter have a history of violent crimes. Andrew Spengler, a white former Milwaukee Police Officer officer, was convicted in 2007 for beating a biracial man with two other officers while they were off-duty.
Two other signers, Garrett Wadda and Kevin Martinez, who identify as belonging to the Cheyenne Nation and Navajo Nation, are both serving time for murder charges.
“I certainly wouldn’t be supportive of sending them down there to build a wall,” Arkansas state Senator Bart Hester, who served alongside Woods in the Arkansas State Senate, told KFSM. “I think we’ve got a lot of very skilled workers who are able to do that.”