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1/17/2013 Bill calls for work-release inmates to help out during state of emergency
STATE HOUSE – Inmates at the Adult Correctional Institutions who are eligible for work release would be called on to help out during any state of emergency, under legislation introduced by Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly).

The bill,(2013-H5077) , allows the Director of the Department of Corrections to provide labor for the performance of emergency remediation projects upon a declaration of a state of emergency by the governor or a federal disaster declaration.

“Our south shore was battered by Superstorm Sandy, and there was a great deal of clean-up work to do after that event,” said Representative Azzinaro. “What South County communities needed more than anything at that time was people to help do the work necessary to restore things as soon as possible to some semblance of normalcy. Extra help, in the form of work-release inmates, would have been a big help at a very bad time for residents and communities.”

“Our state will see more storms and more emergency situations,” he said. “We need rapid response to those situations and we need able-bodied individuals to help residents and communities that are suffering. I believe using inmates who are already eligible for work release programs is an option worth pursuing.”

The legislation would allow use of inmates who are currently eligible to provide labor outside the prison complex, such as those who tend the grounds at the State House and along the state’s highways. The director of the department would make assignments in coordination with local or state agencies and would assign correctional officers to supervise any emergency work crews.

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Judiciary and is co-sponsored by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston), Rep. Arthur J. Corvese (D-Dist. 55, North Providence), Rep. Jan P. Malik (D-Dist. 67, Barrington, Warren) and Rep. Raymond J. Gallison Jr. (D-Dist. 69, Bristol, Portsmouth).

For more information, contact:
Randall T. Szyba, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-2457