Work crews of inmates from Maine correctional facilities are providing state agencies, as well as local schools and towns, with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of repairs, construction, road work, painting, and other maintenance every year, reports Capitol News Service in Maine. “We use 10 dollars an hour as a value for the labor,” said Corrections Commissioner Joe Ponte. “We have some jobs we do that are more sophisticated and the labor is worth more than that.”
The agency is on pace to significantly increase the number of hours provided by the inmate work crews. In 2010 there were 22,890 hours of projects provided by the work crews. In the first six months of this year, the crews have provided 21,160 hours of projects. Rep. Gary Plummer, co-chairman of the Legislature's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, said, “These are people who are trusties who have shown they can behave themselves. I think it is important for the public to know there is very little risk from these inmates.”Ponte is always looking for ways to expand the number of projects done by the work crews throughout the state.