Cleaning up the jail
BY ALYSSA MEIER
After spending over 40 years in a state penitentiary, the last place Daniel Lees thought he would go once free was back inside the walls of a jail cell. But the last 13 months, that exactly what he did.
A few days a week, Lees suits up and goes to work doing maintenance in a place he understands and where he is understood - the McLean County Jail.
“They were the only place that would hire me with my record,” Lees said. “They were the only place where they would give me a shot.”
For Lees, a 63-year-old convicted felon, finding work was next to impossible once he was released from prison in Washington. A Vietnam veteran, Lees said he first went to jail for assault after returning from the war.
“A guy was running his mouth in a bar about Vietnam vets,” Lees said. “I told him to stop, and he had an attitude about it so we tore the bar up.”
Lees said the fight landed him three years in prison for second degree assault. Once out and on parole, Lees said he was trapped into becoming a driver for an armed robbery he was unaware of. He said he drove an acquaintance to cash a check, and when the man came out, he was carrying bags and a gun.