Inmates Help Worcester, Leominster Dig Out

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

By Gary V. Murray

TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF

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Jeffrey Leger of Gardner, right, and other inmates from the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction dig a path to the Green Island Neighborhood Center at Crompton Park in Worcester on Wednesday
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From left, Jamie Cote of Grafton, Anthony LaMarche of Worcester and James Ohop of Southbridge, along with other inmates from the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction, dig a path to the Green Island Neighborhood Center at Crompton Park in Worcester on Wednesday.

Inmates from the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction in West Boylston helped the cities of Worcester and Leominster dig out from under more than 2 feet of snow Wednesday.

About a dozen inmates who are participants in Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis’ Community Service Program spent the morning shoveling out Leominster City Hall, the Leominster District Court building, parking meters in the city and the area of the Common, according to Kimberly Roy, director of external affairs for the sheriff’s office.

In the afternoon, work crews from the program were shoveling snow at Crompton Park in Worcester.

The community service program provides cost-free labor by minimum-security inmates who have been convicted of a nonviolent and non-sexual offense and are within six months of completing their sentence. The inmates are monitored at all times by an armed officer.

“It benefits the communities, as well as the inmates,” Ms. Roy said of the program. Cities and towns save money on labor costs, according to Ms. Roy.

“And it gives the inmates a sense of giving back to the community and helps them with re-entry, as well. It’s the ultimate win-win,” she said.

“We had over 30 inches of snow, and what a relief to see them,” Leominster Mayor Dean J. Mazzarella said of the inmates who helped out. “We thank the sheriff for automatically knowing that we could use the help. The prisoners worked hard all day and made a huge improvement.”

Ms. Roy said Sheriff Evangelidis makes the needs of area communities a top priority of his community service program whenever a major storm strikes.

State courts in all but Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties were closed for a second day Wednesday because of the storm. State courts across Massachusetts were shut down Tuesday and only those in the four western counties, which were less affected by the storm, reopened Wednesday.