NOVEMBER 1, 1995

RALEIGH - In his effort to get every able-bodied prisoner to work, Gov. Jim Hunt announced today a new, toll-free hotline for citizens to call who have work ideas.

The number, 1-800-661-7161, may be used for those who have suggestions on work projects that are for the public benefit. Callers will leave their suggestions on a recording for the Division of Prisons' staff to review.

"Prisoners should be performing the time-consuming, labor-intensive jobs that communities have a hard time tackling," Gov. Jim Hunt said. "With this toll-free number, citizens can help us find more innovative ways to put prisoners to work."

Since the beginning of the Governor's Community Work Program in January 1995, inmates have worked on more than 1,000 community service projects which have saved thousands, if not millions of tax dollars.

"We will listen to the hotline regularly and pursue as many ideas as we can," said Keith Hester, chief of program services. "Citizens or local government officials can recommend specific one-time jobs or on-going projects that would improve the community."

About 17,000 inmates are working or training for jobs within the Department of Correction. More than 700 of those inmates are working in the Governor's Community Work Program where inmate jobs range from cleaning tire dumps and painting public buildings to cutting brush and shoveling dirt.

"Inmates have worked on Mt. Mitchell and other state parks, cleaned the beaches along the coast and helped clear debris from storms as part of the Governor's Community Work Program," Correction Secretary Franklin Freeman said. "Their work is practical and useful, and the Department of Correction welcomes new ideas from the public."