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Inmate Road Crew Survey

NCJ Number
Date Published
6 pages
The results of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections' January 1984 telephone survey of 50 States regarding the use of inmates for work on highways and roads covers the number of inmates used, wages, special facilities for such workers, and selection criteria.
Of the States surveyed, 26 had some type of road crew, and 9 of these used inmates only for trash collection or landscaping rather than construction. Only four systems had special facilities for road crews. Inmates were paid for road work in 20 States, usually by some agency other than the correctional agency. The pay rates were low, ranging from a few cents per hour in several States to $75 a month in Illinois. Every State using a road crew had selection criteria. Inmates usually had to meet standards for a certain security level. Many States specifically excluded sex offenders and violent offenders. The survey identified some unique approaches to road crew work. For example, Alabama uses unemployed inmates from work release centers, while Arizona staffs its work crews entirely with offenders convicted of driving while intoxicated. Comments about experiences with prisoner road crews were overwhelmingly positive. Tables are supplied.