DARTMOUTH, Mass. - If Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson had his way, help for Hurricane Harvey victims would come dressed in a prison jumpsuit.
Hodgson wants to send inmates from his Dartmouth correctional facility to Texas to help with relief efforts.
The pre-release inmates get good behavior credit and the Lone Star state gets free labor.
But there’s a catch: current state law doesn’t technically allow it and a bill clarifying its language, prohibiting in-state prison labor to be used out of state has already been filed.
Hodgson says he hopes the legislature will pass a different bill that would O.K. the move with the governor’s approval.
“The governor would simply have to give approval on 90 days’ notice. And this instance, this isn’t something we would be doing tomorrow, because obviously they’re in the middle of the rescue effort,” Hodgson said. “There’s a lot to be looked at and planned. We have to talk to FEMA and I’ve got calls into sheriffs in that region.”
Sheriff Hodgson says his proposal would require FEMA and other federal relief funds to cover the cost of transportation and inmate supervision.
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