Criminal Justice

Inmates Help Fight Gary Housing Blight

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August 5, 2014 — Offenders from both the Indiana State Prison Medium/Minimum Security Unit and the Westville Correctional Facility are working together to renovate abandoned homes in Gary.  The project is sponsored by the Fuller Center for Housing of Gary Indiana Inc.

The program achieves several objectives.  It provides affordable housing to the citizens of Gary, helps raise values within the neighborhood, provides work opportunities for offenders and avoids the costs of demolition.  This level of cooperation between the city and the state has raised the interest of the Cook County Sheriff to do the same in Chicago, IL.

The offender work crews completely gutted the inside of the two homes, removing  window frames, plumbing, wiring, support walls, and cleaned out the crawl spaces.

Pastor Chet Johnson, the project organizer, sent a letter to Indiana Department of Correction Commissioner Bruce Lemmon expressing his sincere appreciation for the work performed by these two crews.  Pastor Johnson stated, “The effort the offenders are putting into their work is something to appreciate, they are working hard, they understand what we are trying to accomplish, and they have shown the utmost respect”.

Commissioner Lemmon stated, “I am very proud of the outstanding efforts everyone has put into making the Gary project a success.  It is community service like this that makes Indiana DOC the Best in the Business.”

[Photo: one of the houses in the Michigan City-Westville inmate project with Fuller Center for Housing — courtesy IN-DOC]

Source: IN Dept. of Correction


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