Monday, Feb. 7


Illinois Department of Corrections serves as a crucial link providing assistance in disaster relief and public service projects

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[FEB. 7, 2005]  SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Department of Corrections plays a vital role in supporting the needs of communities in Illinois through its employee and inmate work crews. In 2004, the department provided nearly 530,000 work hours toward community disaster relief and public service projects.

Throughout the year, the agency is called upon to help restore stability by providing labor and debris cleanup in the aftermath of devastating disasters, including floods, severe storms and tornadoes. In addition, the department reaches out to provide labor and cleanup for public service projects, including community events, as well as for state and local parks and highways.

Agency staff and inmate work crews recently provided flood relief efforts throughout southern Illinois, according to Greg Firkus, who is assistant warden at Logan Correctional Center and serves as the Department of Corrections' lead liaison to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. Work crews provided assistance by filling tens of thousands of sandbags and working at flood sites, including Golconda, Metropolis, Shawneetown, Equality, Junction, New Haven, Mount Carmel and Cave-In-Rock.

"The staff and inmate work crews have done a tremendous job helping all these communities during this most stressful time," said Department of Corrections Director Roger E. Walker Jr. "Everyone involved at our Robinson, Lawrence, Shawnee and Vienna Correctional Centers, Hardin County Work Camp, and Dixon Springs Impact Incarceration Program have been ultimate team players in assisting with flood relief efforts. Whether filling sandbags or working at flood sites, or both, their efforts are to be commended."

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Walker said the department's staff and inmate work crews are a valuable asset to the taxpayer as well as those affected by devastating disasters. Last year, the department's work crews provided tornado cleanup throughout the state, including assistance in the communities of Jacksonville, Pittsfield, Winchester, Utica, Granville, Danville and Lincoln.

"Supporting communities in their time of need is an important mission of our agency," Walker said. "When IEMA calls upon our department, the state can be assured that we will be there."

The goal of supporting communities through public service projects also provides inmates a structured, specialized agenda that develops responsibility, self-discipline, self-respect and the importance of a good work ethic.

"The driving force rests on the belief that the willingness to get involved in community service enhances the ability of the offender to reintegrate into society and live as a responsible, law-abiding and productive citizen," Walker added.

For more information about the Illinois Department of Corrections, visit

[Illinois Department of Corrections news release]

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