D.C. inmates helped shovel during snowstorm

The massive snowstorm two weeks ago was so substantial the District had to rely on inmates to help shovel the snow.

The D.C. Department of Corrections provided about 20 inmates from local halfway houses to clear snow from crosswalks, bus stops and sidewalks around the city. The inmates earned $7.50 an hour.

The program is intended to prepare the inmates for reintegration into the community, while chipping in on work the city needs.

“Work details are a component of the department's restorative justice program in which offenders are required to give back to the community in which they have committed offenses,” Department of Corrections spokeswoman Michon Parker wrote in an e-mail.

The arrangement began in 2008, she said. Under the agreement, the District Department of Transportation pays the inmates and the wages of two supervisory correctional officers per work crew. DDOT also provides shovels, transportation and meals.

The crews are made up of inmates convicted of misdemeanors such as trespassing, vandalism or public intoxication, Parker said. Occasionally, jail inmates awaiting trial are also included.

Parker declined to provide details on exactly where the two crews worked in the aftermath of the Dec. 18-19 storm.

The size of the snowfall — and the multiple-day cleanup — prompted DDOT to hire outside contractors to help plow local streets in addition to the inmate program. All told, the District spent $4 million of its $6.2 million snow removal budget.

The inmate program represented $15,000 of the total cost, said DDOT spokeswoman Karyn Le Blanc.

The District's unemployment rate has topped 11 percent since August, the first time in more than 26 years. At $7.50 an hour, the inmates earn less than the city's minimum wage of $8.25 per hour.

The D.C. inmates weren't the only ones put to work during the storm. Some 250 Maryland inmates helped clear snow from Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium so the Ravens could play the Chicago Bears the day after the snow dump, according to the Associated Press.

kweir@washingtonexaminer.com

LocalNationnewsUS

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have taken different approaches to transit and infrastructure funding. <ins>(Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)</ins>
Bay Area transit has big hopes for a Biden administration

The best chance for local agencies to get relief may be a change in federal leadership

BART Ambassadors are being called on to assist riders in social situations that don’t require police force. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Unarmed BART ambassadors program formalized with a focus on community service

Public safety and police reform are key elements in campaigns of Board members Dufty and Simon

East Bay hills and Port of Oakland visible from Point San Bruno Park jetty. (Shutterstock)
East Bay agencies urge precautionary evacuations ahead of wind event

At least two East Bay jurisdictions suggested Sunday that residents in the… Continue reading

Nate Durand of Chug Pub created an election-themed cocktail which has several names: Biden Harris, Barris, Hiden, and/or Dem Juice. (Saul Sugarman/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Drink blue, no matter who

But bar parties aren’t planned for Election Day

Lee Vining and Inyo National Forest are excellent fall color tour destinations. (Matt Johanson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Gold Rush: Go now to see Sierra fall color

Maples, oaks, dogwoods, aspens glow in the next few weeks

Most Read