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By Bill Shaner Daily News Staff

Posted May. 1, 2016

MILFORD – Before Citizens for Milford and others hit the streets for Beautification Day Saturday, Worcester County inmates took care of some of the thornier sections of town.

As part of Sheriff Lew Evangelidis’ community service program, the inmates tackled the tough areas such as Dilla Street and Cedar Street. Working in teams on Thursday and Friday, they helped clear trash off a wide swath of the town.

“They did a great job yesterday and it looks great,” said Amie Sanborn, chairwoman of the Beautification Day subcommittee. “They help in that they do a lot of the streets that we deem too dangerous.”

The work is part of an overall initiative to get inmates out cleaning the community five days a week. Since taking office in 2011, Evangelidis has tripled the program, according to Kim Roy, his director of external affairs.

Since 2011, Roy estimates the program has completed about $6 million in the cost it would take to hire cleaning crews.

The prisoners that participate in the program, Evangelidis said, are the best of the best — they’re non-violent offenders with no sex crimes. They’ve worked to earn the right to take part in the program, he said.

“We want to promote the idea that these inmates, especially those that work in this program, they are people that are turning their lives around. They’re giving back and they’re people that should be given an opportunity,” said Evangelidis. “They’ve earned that right.”

One inmate, Alberto, said he’s getting out on May 5, and the program helps him feel like he’s heading out and getting to work. Plus, he said, “it’s good to give back to the community.”

Regarding the Milford assignment, several inmates said it wasn’t half bad. Usually, they’re on the highway, so cleaning municipal streets is stress-free by comparison. Another inmate, Frank, said someone even honked a horn, yelled “Freedom!” and stuck up a closed fist in solidarity.

They got a chuckle out of that, he said.

Others were just happy to get out of the House of Corrections.

“I was trying to get a tan worked on too,” said another inmate named Paul, wearing a cut sleeve shirt, to crease out the farmer’s tan.

“I don’t think we have any tanning lotion, though.”

Frank Soto of Brooklyn rakes as inmates from the Worcester County House of Correction clean up around Draper Park in Milford ahead of the Beautification Day Saturday.   Daily News and Wicked Local Staff Photo/Allan Jung