Drive around Freehold Borough and the remnants of what the recent storm left behind remains evident. As a result, inmates from the Monmouth County jail helped clean up large amounts of debris and brush throughout the area as part of the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office Inmate Labor Program. For three days five inmates were transported to the several parks in the borough that suffered extensive damage from the storm. They cleared away fallen debris and brush from uprooted trees which lined the areas, and, restored the appearance of the parks. 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 storm damage recovery is a costs savings example of shared services.”
The work crew from the Inmate Labor Program was in Freehold Borough from August 15th through August 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 Freehold Borough suffered as a result of the storm was immense,” said Mayor Nolan Higgins. “The Inmate Labor Program proved to be an invaluable service in assisting with our recovery efforts.”
The Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office conducted the Inmate Labor Program for 124 days in 2011, with 992 hours dedicated to working on a range of projects. 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 difficult times,” said Council President Sharon Shutzer. “It not only helps the towns save money but also helps the work crew give back to society.”
Past inmate labor projects have included carpentry, painting, working with parks and public works departments and the restoration of historic sites including a Civil War era cemetery.