Inmate work details save city dollars and labor efforts

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Just back from summer recess, members of City Council got a look at one area in which dollars spent in this years budget are paying a big dividend.

Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne gave a report on inmate work details at last weeks Quality of Life meeting. We have been able to double our efforts with the additional second deputy that was approved in the budget, Lawhorne said.

Inmates perform a number of community service details, including trash pickup and special projects for any city agency that requests such assistance. From May through August, eight inmates, working in crews of four, collected trash at 27 different sites around Alexandria, from Potomac Yard to Luckett Field and Martha Custis at Shirlington to Ben Brenman Park. Additionally, inmates mowed grass, removed weeds and mulched the grounds at six public schools before opening day. They also helped get ready for special events such as the Waterfront Festival and National Night Out. Inmates also helped move the Code Enforcement Office to its new location and cleaned GSAs warehouse.

Nonprofits can also request help from inmate work details. The Hopkins House pre-school got its grounds beautified and playground furniture relocated. Inmates also mulched the playground to ensure a soft landing for little falls. In all, inmates performed 2,391 hours of work, saving the city $29,026.74 in wages.

This is very impressive work. The sheriff has been able to make a large difference in the appearance of our community with minimal public investment. His innovation and creativity are really paying off for the city, said Councilman Rob Krupicka.

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