The trail of destruction that Superstorm Sandy left behind in shore communities throughout Monmouth County remains evident. As a result, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office Inmate Labor Program is in full operation in an effort to help restore the hardest hit areas. Inmates from the Monmouth County Correctional Institution recently spent an entire week in Belmar, where they conducted a major clean up. For five days, six inmates were transported to the beachfront, parks and recreational areas that suffered severe damage from the storm. They cleared away fallen debris and brush from uprooted trees, restored the appearance of parks and swept away mounds of sand off of beachfront sidewalks. 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. “Superstorm Sandy devastated parts of Monmouth County, and, 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 storm damage recovery is a costs savings example of shared services.”
The work crew from the Inmate Labor Program was in Belmar from January 14th through January 18th . 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.
“The destruction that Belmar suffered as a result of Sandy was immense,” said Mayor Matthew Doherty. “The Inmate Labor Program proved to be a great service in assisting us with our recovery efforts.”
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. “This is a great example of government agencies working together during these difficult times,” said Fran Hines, Supervisor of Belmar’s Department of Public Works. “It not only helps the towns save money on labor but also assists the work crew in giving back to society.”
In the coming weeks the Inmate Labor Program will be conducted in Bradley Beach and Sea Bright.
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.