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"Operation Clean Sweep" begins today

“Operation Clean Sweep” begins today: Inmates work to better communities, themselves.

Amid economic tough times and budget constraints, a new program launched today that saves taxpayer money, keeps Arizona clean and provides work for inmates.

In the “Operation Clean Sweep” program starting today, inmate work crews pick up litter along Interstate 10 between Tucson and Phoenix. The program is a joint venture between the Arizona Department of Correctionsand the Department of Transportation.

To ensure public safety and security, only minimum security inmates are eligible for the work assignments, after going through rigorous examinations.

“Inmate labor programs are based on the dignity of labor and the pride of workmanship,” said Sen. Al Melvin, a strong supporter and advocate of the merits of inmate labor.

Inmates are chosen to work to improve their communities while developing marketable job skills, a positive work ethic and good habits. Jobs include cleaning up trash on highways, painting over graffiti and filling in potholes, Sen. Melvin said.

Sen. Melvin hopes all levels of government will adopt inmate labor as a sustainable means of benefiting the public, the budget and the inmates.

“Meaningful, gainful work experiences will help inmates transition back into society,” Sen. Melvin said. “I encourage everyone to go to the Arizona Dept. of Corrections’ Web site to see the many different projects that inmate labor can carry out successfully and cost-effectively.”

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