Inmates from the Monmouth County jail helped restore the Oakley Farm House complex in Freehold for four days by painting the historic landmark, as well as cleaning up debris that the winter storms 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 on a range of projects is a cost savings example of shared services.”
The work crew from the Inmate Labor Program was at Oakley Farm from April 4th through April 7th. Inmates were busy painting the old farm house in an effort to prepare the historic site for the “Weekend In Old Monmouth” tour on April 30th and May 1st, where people get the chance to visit historic landmarks throughout Monmouth County. “The inmate labor program is invaluable to us here at Oakley Farm. Without this type of assistance we would not be able to maintain the historic integrity of our structures,” said Cheryl Cook, former chair of the Freehold Township Historic Preservation Commission and Founder of the Freehold Township Heritage Society.
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 the day in jail. “This is a great example of government agencies working together during tough economic times,” said Freehold Township Mayor David Salkin. “It also helps the work crew reintegrate back into the community.”
In 2010, inmates involved in the program worked more than 7,500 hours on 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.
Inmate labor projects in the past have included carpentry, painting, working with parks and public works departments and even restoring a Civil War era cemetery.