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DPSCS Joins City of Westminster, Departments of Housing and Community Development, Disabilities, and Labor, Licensing and Regulation to Celebrate More Than 200 ADA Curbs Done With Help From Inmates
$318,000 project had inmates trained by Romano Concrete tradesmen
TOWSON, MD (November 5, 2013)---The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) joined Westminster leaders and the leadership of several partner state agencies today to celebrate the completion of 214 new or rebuilt ADA-compliant curb ramps in the downtown area. The project represents the largest single concrete effort ever done by pre-release inmates as part of the DPSCS Public Safety Works inmate labor initiative.
“We are grateful to Westminster, to Romano Concrete, and to our state agency partners for letting these men pay society back in a meaningful way while simultaneously learning valuable job skills,” said DPSCS Secretary Gary Maynard.
Using grant money obtained by the MD Dept. of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), and with critical input from Access Maryland and the Dept. of Disabilities (DOD), Westminster identified the needed curb cuts in the downtown area.
“This project brings greater accessibility to our City,” said Kevin Utz, Mayor of Westminster. “We look forward to seeing even greater numbers of visitors enjoying all that Downtown Westminster offers.”
“I’m very pleased that what initially started as a conversation with Secretary Maynard and Secretary Skinner has become a model partnership between the City of Westminster and three state agencies – Disabilities, Public Safety and Corrections, and Housing and Community Development,” said MD Dept. of Disabilities Secretary Catherine Raggio. “As a result of this partnership, we now have sidewalks that are safer and more accessible for individuals with disabilities, seniors and others.”
DPSCS worked with the MD Dept. of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation to secure the partnership with Romano Concrete---with whom DPSCS inmates previously worked on the Eastern Shore at Cambridge in a similar but smaller project. This project is the first to give inmates DLLR on-the-job certifications.
Public Safety Works is the DPSCS restorative justice initiative that uses an average of more than 300 supervised low-security inmates every weekday to help towns and non-profits complete projects that otherwise may not get done. Since 2008, inmates have planted millions of oyster spat; restored Antietam Battlefield and the C and O Canal Trail; rebuilt playgrounds and painted public swimming pools; helped towns recover from flooding; and built homes for Habitat for Humanity, among many meaningful projects. Inmates have planted more than one million trees; restored historic Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Baltimore; and harvested two million pounds of food for the MD Food Bank.
The Westminster project is one of the largest skilled labor training PSW efforts ever, but it won’t be the last: currently, more than 100 inmates are training, or have been trained, in hazardous materials abatement, as they prepare to assist in the deconstruction of the old House of Correction in Jessup. That deconstruction---rather than outright demolition--- will save Maryland taxpayers at least five million dollars, while teaching inmates invaluable skills and saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in re-usable materials.
DPSCS appreciates this great partnership between multiple state agencies and the City of Westminster, and looks forward to many more in the future.