The Holden Landmark
By Phyllis Booth
The Princeton Municipal Light Department building sports a new coat of paint, courtesy of free inmate labor through the Inmate Community Service Program of Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis.
Over the past two weeks, six inmates in the program have scraped, primed and painted the exterior of the building and some sections of the interior in the office area. PMLD employees power-washed the building before the crew arrived.
“A job like this would cost us $15,000 to $16,000,” said PMLD Manager Brian Allen. “This is huge for us, especially with the financial problems with have right now.”
He also appreciated the help of Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School students who worked on the roof.
“We couldn’t have done this work for another two years,” he said. “This saves us a ton of money. This is a great facility, but it has to be maintained.”
Inmate crews consist of non-violent, non-sex offender individuals approaching the end of their sentences who have earned a place in the Community Service Program, said Evangelidis.
“I’ve tripled the size of the Inmate Community Service Program since taking office last year,” said Evangelidis. “Inmates earn their way into the program. It’s a privilege to be part of the program.”
Evangelidis said the program has been well-received. “It’s always the same story from the communities where they have worked. Everyone is pleased and full of praise for the inmates,” he said.
The program helps both the inmates and the communities they serve, Eveangelidis said.
“The inmates are doing something productive that gives them dignity, and it makes it less likely they will be back,” he said.
Allen praised the workers. “These guys are very efficient and are no-nonsense workers. I’m pretty impressed.”
The inmate crew has also completed projects at NEADS/Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans in Princeton, a non-profit organization and at the Senior Center.
The work saved the town more than $40,000, Evangelidis said. “This is a win-win situation for the town and for the Sheriff’s Department,” he said.