Prison labor concerns some in township

    A suburban Philadelphia township is employing prison labor to clean its streets, prompting safety concerns from some area residents.

    A suburban Philadelphia township is employing prison labor to clean its streets, prompting safety concerns from some area residents.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091015tmprison.mp3]

    “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

    It’s not the chain gang from the classic movie Cool Hand Luke, but some Lower Merion Township residents called Commissioner Jenny Brown when they saw a county prison van in their neighborhood. Commissioner Brown says following the complaints, she sent a notice to area residents that the prisoners would be cleaning streets.

    Brown: They are not allow to talk to the general public. You know it seemed to us that there was quite a lot of precautions taken and they are not violent offenders and it seems like a win win. We’ve been using the program for three years and we’re happy with how it’s worked.

    The prison labor is free to the township, which Commissioner Brown says has been struggling financially.

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