Inmate Service Program draws praise as Sheriff visits Hillside Garden Apartments

An inmate work crew recently assisted Hillside Garden Apartments in Gardner with ongoing interior and exterior maintenance.

An inmate work crew recently assisted Hillside Garden Apartments in Gardner with ongoing interior and exterior maintenance.

10/15/2013 7:31:00 AM

Gardner News
Melissa Sandford
News Staff Writer

GARDNER — Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis recently made a stop at Hillside Garden Apartments on Blanchard Street to visit an on-site inmate work crew.

“As sheriff it is always a pleasure for me to spend time in Gardner and I am thrilled to be here today with the inmate work crew as they assist Gardner’s Housing Authority with some much needed fall clean up of the Hillside Gardens Housing Complex which provides affordable housing for our elderly,” he said. “In addition to recently helping with this very worthy project, our inmate work crews have also been able to complete work at the Gardner VNA, Veterans Homestead, the Highway Department and the local Legion Post, providing Gardner’s community with well over $100,000 in savings. As sheriff I can not think of a better program where both the inmates and the community benefit.”

Since taking office in January 2011, Mr. Evangelidis said he has made efforts to more than triple the size of the Inmate Community Service Program, a move that has allowed budget-strapped communities to save nearly $3.5 million combined. To date, through the initiative, over 1,000 work projects have been completed.

According to Mr. Evangelidis, the program was designed to provide non-violent, non-sex offender individuals with an opportunity to learn job skills and foster a sense of self worth while productively assisting others.

Gardner Housing Authority Director Peter Gogeun said it was an honor to have the most recent crew visit the Chair City.

“Sheriff Evangelidis and the Inmate Community Service Program have been a tremendous partner to Gardner’s Housing Authority,” he said. “During the past week they completed much needed maintenance in all of our units at the Hillside Gardens Housing Complex and also assisted with fall clean up including removing leaves from all of the gutters and raking of all of the grounds. It’s been an honor to have them, they saved us many of thousands of dollars and they did a beautiful job.”