Inmate Work Project

WMDT-TV - Online

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POPLAR ISLAND, Md. - Well the gloomy weather didn't stop Maryland inmates from getting out from behind the prison walls to exploring the great outdoors. They took advantage of an opportunity many of us would take for granted.

Patrick Coleman understands the dark side to being behind bars "its rough, its rough being in prison". Coleman has been incarcerated at the Eastern Pre-Release Unit, but is getting out soon. Through the Maryland Public Safety Works Initiative, he's working to prepare for his return to society, "its helping me now because I really want to get a job now, you know, if I had a chance to come back here and hire me I'd love it."

The program is what brought these ten inmates to Poplar Island, near Tilghman Island, to plant bay grass in hopes of preventing further erosion of the land. Ronell Holliday sees this project as a way of preparing for the workforce, but also took time too enjoy his moment of freedom, "enjoy a nice boat ride, it's a 20 minute ride out to Tilghman Island, the atmosphere's nice, peaceful, something to do."

Maryland correctional officials hope inmates will do more than just plant seeds in the ground, they hope to produce seeds of purpose, fulfillment, and a sense of dignity in the lives of these inmates. "its a way for these inmates to give back to the communities they've harmed which is often a very powerful tool in their rehabilitation process." Over 400 inmates on any given day of the year are participating in some kind of public works project throughout the state of Maryland.