The Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office Inmate Labor Program was in full operation on Tuesday April 23rd, in an effort to help restore two historic landmarks in Middletown. Inmates from the Monmouth County Correctional Institution spent the entire day at the Old Presbyterian Burial Grounds and the Daniel Hendrickson Family Burial Grounds off of Kings Highway, where a major cleanup was conducted. Large amounts of debris and brush throughout the grounds were removed, remnants of what the winter and Superstorm Sandy left behind. The Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office Inmate Labor Program offers much needed assistance to towns, and helps lessen financial burdens they face due to budget constraints. “I’m glad the sheriff’s office is able to provide such a valuable resource to municipalities through our Inmate Labor Program,” said Sheriff Shaun Golden. “The use of inmate labor to assist our communities with cleanups and storm damage recovery is a costs savings example of shared services.”
Offenders incarcerated for minor offenses with records of good behavior are eligible to be a part of the program. Inmates who enroll in the program participate in work projects as an alternative to spending their time in jail. It also helps the work crew give something back to the community.
This most recent effort is part of the project to restore historic landmark cemeteries in Middletown. Six inmates participated, and, Middletown Public Works Department supplied the cleanup equipment. “These historic landmarks are in much need of restoration and I’m grateful we could have such a valuable partnership,” said Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger, Middletown Township. “The Inmate Labor Program was a great service in assisting us with our cleanup efforts. Without that help, it would be difficult to maintain the historic integrity of our burial grounds.”
Last year, 1260 hours were dedicated to working on a range of projects through the Inmate Labor Program. The sheriff’s office transports and provides the security of the inmate labor crews. Requests for inmate labor teams are made to the program coordinator Medora Morris, and are evaluated in terms of the needs and feasibility of the project.
Past inmate labor projects have included carpentry, painting, beach cleanup, working with parks and public works departments and the restoration of historic sites including a Civil War era cemetery.