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November 2, 2007

CONTACT: Steve Tompkins
(617) 961-6650


Recently, a team of female inmates from the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department Community Works Program (CWP) were deployed to paint the halls of the Bloomingdale Street senior apartments in Chelsea.

Giving a fresh coat of paint to the walls and railings on the first and seventh floors of the 400–unit complex, the CWP crew helped to beautify the building by plying some of the skills they’ve learned at the Suffolk County House of Correction (HOC).

The CWP program was created for low–risk inmates at the HOC who have received vocational training through the Sheriff’s Common Ground institute, in areas including landscaping and ground maintenance, painting, building maintenance, and carpentry.

These inmates are then taken into Suffolk County to use the skills they have learned to make improvements in public spaces. The goal of the program is to reduce recidivism by teaching inmates to become employable citizens upon release, while also saving thousands of tax dollars on each project the crews work on.

As the first and only female crew in the five–crew program, this unit provides a unique opportunity for self–improvement.

“A lot of females don’t have construction skills,” said Officer Lorraine Dennehy. “They can take the knowledge they’ve gained here and get a job in one of the trades. I think it also lifts them up and gives them something that they can be proud of as they repay their debt, and I know it means a lot to the people here who will get to enjoy the work that the crew has done.”

According to Rich Russell, Maintenance Supervisor for the Chelsea Housing Authority, the work is both important and appreciated.

“We greatly appreciate all the work that the Sheriff’s Department is doing for us,” said Russell. “It’s work that’s above and beyond what we can accomplish with our means and personnel. All of it is greatly needed to help improve the appearance of the apartments and it helps to maintain the morale of the residents.”

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