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Inmates Help Build Homes in Eastern North Carolina

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KINSTON — People in trouble for hurting others are now helping others in flooded communities as part of a home rebuilding project.

At 70 cents a day, the state inmates do not make much for their efforts, but they are filling a real need here for new housing as they build two homes for flood victims and assemble pieces for several others.

"This is a win-win for the city of Kinston, for theDepartment of Correction, for the inmates," says the Department of Correction's John Blalock. "The inmates will have experience that they wouldn't have had or may not have had when they came into prison."

Inmate Jonathan Harper hopes to put these skills to work when he is released, but right now, he is enjoying some time away from his cell.

"You get to work," Harper says. "You get to be away from the campus, be outside, be in a different environment."

Because a lot of the workers do not have experience, the city hired a private company to oversee the work.

Subcontractor Chris Anders knows flooding all too well. Floyd destroyed his home in Wayne County. While he is building these houses for strangers, he is hoping to find his own place soon.

"I'm tired of just living out of places with rent and stuff like that, and having to move from place to place because the lease runs out or whatever," Anders says. "I'm ready to get into one house and stay there."

Inmates assigned to Community Work crews are in minimum custody and are screened prior to being placed in jobs outside the prison.

Officials expect the two houses to be finished in June.


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