The Middlesex County
Board of Chosen Freeholders believes that inmates should work during
their incarceration in order to provide service to the community. Beyond
routine institutional work (cleaning and kitchens) inmate labor is used
for janitorial, lawn maintenance and warehouse work in other County
departments. Carefully supervised inmate work crews perform highway
and park clean-up and have even been used in emergency service such
as the Hurricane Floyd clean-up effort.
Many inmates work
in the institution in janitorial roles. Others work in the laundry,
the kitchen and maintenance shop. Carefully classified inmates work
on the institutional grounds - maintaining lawns, cleaning parking lots
and the grounds. All of this work reduces taxpayer expense for institutional
operations. For example, over 50 inmates work in the kitchen every day
to prepare and serve over 3,000 meals.
Due to the financial
benefits of using inmate workers the County has expanded these services
beyond the institution. Each day inmate workers perform janitorial,
lawn care and warehouse functions in other County buildings - Central
Vehicle Maintenance, Public Property, Purchasing, the County Warehouse,
the Juvenile Detention Center, Highways and Bridges and the Records
Retention Center. Inmate workers have also been assigned to municipal
buildings in Old Bridge, East Brunswick, Spotswood and the Edgeboro
The high priority
placed on inmate service to the community led to the establishment of
the Clean Communities Project in 1996. This work involves a crew of
eight inmates being supervised in the performance of highway and park
clean-up and improvement projects in townships throughout the County,
as well as at the Kiddie Keep Well Camp in Edison and the American Cancer
Society's warehouse in Fords. Additional service to non-profit organizations
has included projects such as preparing mailings for the American Cancer
Society (folding, collating, envelope stuffing and sorting envelopes
by zip codes for mass mailings).
The community is
well served by these projects and Middlesex County Corrections receives
many expressions of appreciation and requests for additional work projects.
Perhaps the most notable letter of recognition came from the Township
Floyd wreaked havoc on Dunellen. Over 60% of the borough was under
water, damage and destruction were everywhere. The inmates made a
significant impact in returning the quality of life to Dunellen.
Due to the successful
experience with community service, the Department recently initiated
a Community Service Sentencing Program based upon day sentencing of
specially selected offenders by the local Courts.
The Board of Chosen
Freeholders will continue these valuable programs for the betterment
of the citizens of Middlesex County.