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Old 10-21-2004, 06:51 AM
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Default MCC (Monroe) Community Work Crew is making a positive community impact.

Off the WA DOC web site: http://www.doc.wa.gov/stories/nwstories/mccworkcrew.htm

A winter windstorm hurled limbs and snapped five large cottonwood trees from the Dept. of Transportation right-of-way on State Highway 522 into the back yard of a residence. Following cleanup performed by the Community Work Crew from the Monroe Corrections Center, the owner was quick to write a letter of praise for the Correctional Officer supervisor and the six minimum security unit inmates on his community work crew stating, "The crew did an outstanding job in removing the debris. In 30 years of construction experience, I have not seen a crew work more diligently to perform their task, down to the last detail."
The history of Monroe Correctional Complex's Community Work Crew is long and varied. It came into being in the summer of 1989. Four inmates escaped from the Washingt State Reformatory Farm in one week. The local community was upset and called a meeting at the local grange hall with elected officials, DOC headquarters staff, WSR & Farm managers and over 100 locals. DOC vowed that the institution would become a better neighbor by striving to become a community asset as opposed to a liability. One of several changes that followed was development of the Community Work Crew.

The first task the crew took on was to clean the boat launch beneath the High Bridge over the Snoqualmie river, and the job they did was incredible. This area was transformed from a tangle of blackberry bushes into a park with lawn, flowers, trees, and curbs for parking. Fresh gravel and a new entrance sign were created from donations. The public immediately noticed, and soon members of the local community were happily using the area.

The WSR Farm also "adopted" a part of Highway 203 between Monroe and the Farm turnoff, picking litter from that stretch of roadway.

Word about the Community Work Crew spread. Soon, the towns of Monroe, Sultan, Goldbar and Index requested the free service of the weekend-only, ten-man crew.

Between the local towns, Department of Transportation's Adopt-A-Highway program and Department of Fish & Wildlife, WSR Farm's inmates had more work than they could handle. Yet somehow, they managed to keep all requesters happy.

A record flood in 1990 put the term "community asset" to a test when numerous dairy farms in the valley were nearly destroyed. The Reformatory's superintendent sent the Community Work Crew to assist during the flood and many farmers were helped back into operation.

The Farm closed its housing units in July 1994, and inmates were bused from Twin Rivers Unit to the Farm to operate the dairy. The Community Work Crew did not operate after inmate housing was moved to TRU.

The new Minimum Security Unit opened in Sept. 1997, and Community Work Crew was a primary part of program design.

Currently, five Correctional Officers supervise a maximum of eight men per crew, each man on the crew earns $1.10 per hour for his efforts. Crew levels are kept to eight to ensure the greatest level of supervision for the populated areas in which they work. Each crew member receives close scrutiny with regard to attitude and risk assessment to ensure the greatest likelihood of incident-free operation.

Crews are transported to job sites in vans, pulling trailers loaded with tools of the trade. Line trimmers and brush cutters are the most frequently used tools with walk-behind mowers getting lots of seasonal action. Saws, shovels, rakes and grub hoes also get plenty of action. DOC policy states that contract holders will supply tools, but MCC charges contract holders for use of the tools at a rate of one-half the amount of inmate wages for the day so they indirectly pay for the tools used on the job.

There are currently 20 contract holders with the biggest customers being Payne Field and City of Arlington, which schedule services Monday through Friday during the summer and three days per week during the winter. The Community Work Crew generates income of about $11,500 each month for its services.

The type of services CWC performs is varied but typically crews do grass mowing/trimming, landscaping and brush cutting. Painting, carpentry, flood sandbagging and railroad tie replacement are other less-frequent tasks.

Work crews such as this one help municipal governments and non-profits lower their costs of maintenance and enable them to place tax dollars to maximum use. Crew members become proficient and skilled in areas such as landscape maintenance.

As one Arlington citizen wrote: "I would like to express my appreciation for the wonderful job the fellows do in keeping our cemetery looking so good here in Arlington. Tell them Thank You!"

It is clear that the MCC Community Work Crew is making a positive community impact.
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Old 10-21-2004, 11:59 AM
JustLisa JustLisa is offline
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thanks for sharing.. That is where my friend is right now although his job in inside the institution, he doesn't go out and work on the work crews...
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Old 10-21-2004, 04:35 PM
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1nonlyTeRe 1nonlyTeRe is offline
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Thanks for sharing.. that is wonderful news!!! They are doing great work.. It kind of reminded me of the movie "First Time Felon" when it talked about the floods and the crew helping the farmers...
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