October 12, 1995

WILMINGTON - A day at the beach means hard work for New Hanover Correctional Center inmates in the community work program.

Inmates from the prison spent much of last month working at Southport and at the Cape Fear beaches of Caswell, Long and Yaupon. At Southport, they cleared ditches and cleaned streets. They painted Caswell Beach's town hall. They landscaped parking areas and stained wooden park benches and tables at Long Beach. At Yaupon Beach, they cleaned property around town hall and cleared brush at a park providing a view of the beach again.

"Governor Jim Hunt wants inmates put to work," said Correction Secretary Franklin Freeman. "Inmates are being worked to improve communities across the state and it's especially good when their work maintains our beautiful beaches."

New Hanover Correctional Center is one of 14 minimum security prisons with the community work program. Under the program, up to 14 inmates work in a crew supervised by a correctional officer in completing short-term, manual labor jobs for local government.

In addition to their work in Brunswick County, the prison's five inmate crews have also worked in Burgaw, Wilmington, Onslow County and Pender County.

An old train depot that's been donated to Burgaw has been cleaned out by the inmates and is being painted inside and out to provide offices for the local arts council.

"The week of October 23, we will be setting up an erosion control test fence at Caswell Beach," said Correctional Sgt. Robert Barnhill who supervises New Hanover's community work program. "If that project is successful, it could keep us busy working on the beaches."

Through the first nine months of 1995, the New Hanover inmate crews had worked more than 54,000 hours for 37 different town, county or state agencies in Brunswick, New Hanover, Onslow and Pender counties.