A Rhode Island lawmaker wants the state to deploy work-release inmates to help respond to hurricanes and other emergencies.
State Rep. Samuel Azzinaro has introduced legislation that would make inmates eligible for work release to perform clean-up work when a state emergency or federal disaster has been declared.
The Westerly Democrat says the extra help could have been a boon to coastal communities following Superstorm Sandy, which downed trees, washed out roads and spread sand and debris far inland.
Correctional officers would be assigned to supervise the work crews.
Eligible inmates are already used to tend the Statehouse grounds and clean up highway shoulders.
Azzinaro’s bill was announced last week and has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for review.