OCTOBER 16, 1996
RALEIGH -- Through the first eight months of 1996, prisoners in the two-year old community work program have provided 906,159 hours of labor in public jobs for North Carolina cities, towns and public agencies.
Figured at the current minimum wage of $5.15 an hour, the inmate labor would be worth $4,666,718. Through the community work program, the labor is provided without costs to public agencies.
"We put these inmates to work helping where they were needed in eastern North Carolina after Hurricanes Fran and Bertha and in western North Carolina after the flooding and ice storms," said Correction Secretary Franklin Freeman. "The inmates' biggest impact has been in sprucing up communities with park renovations, painting public buildings, clearing brush and picking up litter."
The two-year old program has created 1,260 new jobs for inmates. It was piloted at Greene Correctional Center in 1994, expanded to 56 work squads at 16 prisons in 1995 and 90 work squads at 33 prisons in 1996. Another 51 squads will be added early next year at minimum security prisons.
A correctional officer supervises each work squad of up to 14 inmates in short-term, manual labor projects. Correction staff work with public agencies to line up work projects. The public may also recommend work projects by calling the toll free inmate work hotline at 1-800-661-7161.