Oct 8, 2015
Oct 8, 2015
Oct 8, 2015
By Anna Burgess
Sentinel & Enterprise
LEOMINSTER — In the wake of this week’s snow storm, Leominster officials and residents got help with their shoveling from an unexpected source — the nearby prison.
On Wednesday morning, nearly a dozen inmates showed up in downtown Leominster ready to help the town with snow removal as part of Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis’ inmate work program.
The work program, which existed before Evangelidis but tripled in size when he took office in 2011, allows select inmates at the Worcester County Jail and House of Corrections to do manual labor for local communities and nonprofits. The inmates in the program are all nonviolent offenders who have been pre-screened and are supervised while working.
“Only our best inmates are part of the program,” Evangelidis said.
Kim Roy, the sheriff’s director of external affairs, explained that crews with three to five men go to a specific job every day, but this snowstorm was an exception.
“We have four inmate work crews out five days a week, and that’s ongoing throughout the year,” Roy said. “But when Mother Nature hits, the sheriff always makes the top priority to avail the work crews to help the municipalities dig out.”
Roy said two of the four work crews were sent to Worcester today. The other two crews went to Leominster.
“We get in this morning and we’re shoveling away, and all of a sudden the sheriff’s van shows up,” said Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella.
“We had over 30 inches of snow, and what a relief to see them.”
Over the course of the day, the inmates helped to clear several areas downtown, including bus stops, sidewalks, the courthouse steps and parking meters.
“The trucks can’t get everything, so these guys were able to go behind them and sort of clean up after,” said Mazzarella.
He said he was very grateful for their help.
“We thank the sheriff for automatically knowing that we could use the help,” Mazzarella said. “They worked hard. I don’t think they stopped for a minute. They were certainly providing a good public service.”
Evangelidis said he believes strongly that the work program is in the best interest of all parties.
“It all contributes to the idea of public safety,” he said. “Communities get to save money, and the inmates gain a sense of self-worth.”
Oct 8, 2015
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
By Gary V. Murray
TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
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
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.