A new policy for Westmoreland County Jail inmates conducting labor for non-profit and government groups went into effect on 6/6/2011. The new policy requires that any inmate labor projects performed outside of the prison must be approved in writing by the jail board chairman. In addition, any use of prison equipment for projects must also be approved (Pittsburgh Tribune Review, 6/7/2011).
In recent years, the inmates at the Westmoreland County Jail have conducted work at the Westmoreland County Courthouse, such as planting flowers. The inmates earn 25 cents per hour for their labor. The Westmoreland County Jail does not profit from the inmate labor crews (Pittsburgh Tribune Review, 6/7/2011).
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has a similar program, the Community Work Program, which allows outside agencies and non-profit organizations to request the use of inmate labor for community service projects and public service work projects. The inmate labor crew is supervised by a Department of Corrections employee (Pennsylvania Department of Corrections website). Some safety precautions are taken, such as, no more than 10 inmates are assigned to a crew at one time, they are always within eyesight of the employee and local police are notified when the work crews are in the area (Canadian Press, 6/12/2011).
Canadian officials are also experimenting with using inmate work crews in the community. In Alberta, Canada, inmate work crews conduct snow removal and graffiti removal. In Manitoba, Canada, inmate work crews assisted with dike repair during recent flooding (Canadian Press, 6/12/2011).