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Prisoners to clean up Franklin Co. roads

April 16, 1999|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Nonviolent inmates at Franklin County Prison soon will be able to leave their cells to gather litter along the county's roads, a Franklin County Commissioner said Friday.

Commissioner Robert L. Thomas, who is president of the seven-member prison board, said the county has been trying to get the project moving for more than a year.

The prison hopes to start the operation in less than a month, he said. Equipment already has been purchased.

Only prisoners deemed eligible by the courts for work release can volunteer for the community cleanup program, Thomas said.

He said local officials also should soon know whether the network of state highways in Franklin County can be cleaned up by prisoners.

Nonviolent inmates on work release leave the prison for daily jobs and report back in at night and at all other times when they are not working, Thomas said. That includes weekends.

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Those inmates can now avoid sitting idly in their cells on weekends and at other times when they are not out of the prison working their regular jobs, Thomas said.

There will be no armed guards, but the inmate work crews will be supervised at all times, he said.

The crews will do a variety of public service jobs in addition to picking up highway litter.

Officials in all of Franklin County's boroughs and townships can contact the prison if they need workers to do odd jobs, Thomas said.

The Borough of Chambersburg is requesting a crew to clear debris from the Conococheague Creek, Thomas said.

About 100 of the prison's 270 inmates are eligible for work-release programs, Thomas said.

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