Sounds often carry from inside the Tarrant County Jail to the sidewalks below.
They're just usually not the sounds of people singing Christmas carols.
That is, until last week, when dozens of inmates belted out holiday tunes many of us have known since childhood.
"We had other people who stopped and were just in amazement," said Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn. "People that started coming out of businesses singing with them."
Sheriff Waybourn says the idea for an inmate choir came during a recent motivational ministry at the jail.
"I said man, let’s do it!" he said.
So on Wednesday and Friday, they did. Waybourn says about 50 low-risk inmates sang it all, from "Deck the Halls" to Feliz Navidad. They sang from inside the recreation areas, which are above street level, and could be heard on the streets below.
People, from corrections officers to construction workers, stopped to listen. As of Christmas Eve, the Facebook Live video posted by the sheriff's office had been viewed nearly 30,000 times.
Waybourn says the majority of the reaction was positive. One woman on Facebook commented "May the spirit of Christmas change the hearts of many."
Waybourn shared the response with the inmates.
"Some of these people don’t believe they’ve ever impacted someone’s life positively, so when they heard 28,000 people were impacted, it moved them also," he said.
The sheriff understands not everyone may agree. But he reminds people that the majority of his inmates are people awaiting their trials.
"If we impact them positively in jail, maybe they will have more of a positive impact when they come back to be our neighbors," the sheriff said. He says based on the overwhelmingly positive reaction, it may become a new holiday tradition.
"At the end of the day, this is a season of hope. And they too need hope. And the people on the street needed hope," Waybourn said.
And he hopes that's just what they got.
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