Bristol County, Mass., Sheriff Thomas Hodgson is proposing to send county inmates to help the city of Houston clean up the devastating destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey.
This is not the first time Hodgson has offered up his inmates as labor, drawing criticism earlier this year after proposing to send inmates to help build President Donald Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall.
However, this time, CBS Boston reports, Hodgson insists that the damage caused by Harvey is so severe that all cleanup resources should be considered.
“At this point, I think we need to use every resource in the United States to come together. They’re already saying there aren’t enough construction workers in the United States to deal with this—to rebuild. So, it seems to me to make sense to have inmates that want to volunteer to get the experience in helping rebuild something,” Hodgson told the news station.
Hodgson said that 10 inmates have already expressed interest in the project, and says that his way will be a more cost-effective way to help out with the disaster.
“It’s really basically little cost to the taxpayers for the labor. But it would be not only good for the inmates but good for the people of Houston and the whole area that’s been devastated by this terrible storm,” Hodgson said.
He said that the idea will also benefit inmates, particularly those who are “prerelease,” to do the job.
“Having inmates be able to go in there and know they really made a positive difference in the lives of all these people who have been devastated would be a wonderful thing for them,” Hodgson said. “Those kinds of things can change people’s minds and hearts. And we think this is something that would surely benefit the inmates—not only them, but the people in that community to get back on their feet quickly.”
Hodgson hopes that federal disaster relief funds can be used to pay for the inmates’ transportation and housing costs. Whether or not, however, his idea will be picked up is yet to be seen, since it would have to gain the approval of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the sheriffs involved and the National Sheriffs’ Association.
Read more at CBS Boston.