OCTOBER 12, 1995

RALEIGH - More large orange signs with the message INMATES WORKING will soon spring up along North Carolina highways.

Thirty-two inmate work crews will be added at 19 minimum security prisons in early 1996.

"Governor Jim Hunt wants inmates to work and we're putting more inmates to work to benefit communities across the state," said Correction Secretary Franklin Freeman. "These additional work crews will help local governments tackle jobs they've been short of manpower or money to accomplish."

Under the community work program, crews of up to 14 inmates are supervised in short-term, manual labor jobs for local governments. The inmate crews have tackled jobs from beach conservation to light construction, clearing brush or litter pick-up.

The program was piloted at Greene Correctional Center during the summer of 1994. During 1995, the program expanded to Caldwell, Carteret, Davidson, Duplin, Montgomery , New Hanover, Rowan, Rutherford, Sanford, Tillery and Wilkes Correctional Centers. The program is also underway at Bladen Youth Center and Fountain Correctional Center for Women. These prisons have put 720 inmates to work improving communities at no costs to local government.

"Everyone wins with this program," said Prison Manager Boyd Bennett who oversees the state's minimum and medium security prisons. "While the communities get work done, the inmates develop good work habits and contribute to the community."

The new squads will be added at Anson, Buncombe, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Catawba, Durham, Forsyth, Gaston, Gates, Haywood, Henderson, Robeson, Stokes, Tillery and Umstead correctional centers as well as Sandhills Youth Center, Fountain Correctional Center for Women and Nash and Neuse Correctional Institutions.

The new squads should begin work early next year, as the staffing and equipment needed for the work crews become available.