Habitat for Humanity Honors DPSCS For Inmate Home-Building Success

Print this press release

Towson, MD (July 2, 2010)---Caroline County Habitat for Humanity today honored the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) for its unique-in-the-nation inmate work partnership that has resulted in five completed houses and four more under construction.

The effort has been made possible thanks to a greatly expanded statewide effort to involved more inmates in “restorative justice” endeavors, which go far beyond the traditional scope of inmate labor projects. Right now, inmates are building oyster spat cages, harvesting bay grasses, and restoring Antietam National Battlefield, among many tremendous projects.

The Habitat houses have been built by inmates from the Eastern Pre-release Unit in Church Hill under a unique agreement between Caroline County Habitat for Humanity and the Maryland Division of Correction Pre-release System. The inmates have done flooring, sheetrock, insulation, painting, landscaping, and roofing, learning skills that may prove invaluable upon their release. But moreover, the project has allowed the men to pay back in a most meaningful way, giving low income families the opportunity to move into their own three- to four-bedroom homes.

“We’re serious about giving people the chance to pay back the society they’ve harmed,” said Deputy Secretary Phil Pie, who is in charge of programs, services, treatment, and reentry for DPSCS. “And what better way than to build houses for people who need a hand?”

Caroline County Habitat’s Executive Director Bill Clemens thanked DPSCS, as did Federalsburg Town Manager and State Senator Richard Colburn. DPSCS Inmate Public Safety Works Statewide Coordinator John Rowley, DOC Pre-release System Warden Bill Filbert, and Eastern Pre-release Unit Facility Administrator Buster Blackiston all attended to show their support. Each pledged to help the town and county, and any other jurisdiction on the Shore or in any area of the state, with projects they otherwise might not be able to accomplish given limited resources and manpower. The DPSCS statewide efforts are aimed at helping communities and non-profits.