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IDOC crew helps INDOT maintain Northwest Indiana infrastructure
By Joshua Bingham
Published: 10/30/2009



Oct. 22, 2009

MEDIA CONTACT: Joshua Bingham (219) 325-7455 jbingham@indot.in.gov

Left, an eight-member crew of the IDOC Indiana State Prison Minimum Security Unit clears away trash and underbrush at the southeast quadrant of the U.S. 31 and U.S. 30 interchange. Right, the IDOC crew helps maintain the Indiana Welcome Center Rest Area off westbound I-94 near Michigan City.

IDOC crew helps INDOT maintain Northwest Indiana infrastructure

Public offers thanks for speed and quality of work

LAPORTE, Ind. – Clearing brush at a busy interchange, cleaning up roadsides and polishing a rest area are just a few of the rewards gained in a partnership between the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC).

Historically, INDOT has worked with IDOC crews to clear overgrowth, pick up trash, clean unit buildings and more. Since July, and eight-member IDOC crew from the Indiana State Prison Minimum Security Unit has been working every weekday in the LaPorte District. The crew is on a two-year, renewable contract and will also help with winter operations such as cleaning snowplows.

One area the crew greatly improved is the interchange of U.S. 31 and U.S. 30 in Marshall County. Over the previous few years, the underbrush had become overgrown. As the crew quickly cut back the brush and cleaned up the interchange, two drivers even pulled to the shoulder to comment what a big difference the work made. They shouted out their “Thanks!”

“They are very respectful and appreciative, very hard workers,” said Mike Shrader, LaPorte District IDOC Crew Coordinator. In regard to the crew’s other work in maintaining and touching up the paint at rest areas and on district buildings, Shrader added “These guys flew. We had a hard time keeping up with the paint.”

Mark Newkirk, Director of the Indiana State Prison Minimum Security Unit, said working on the crew is great for providing real world structure. “We feel good about it because it provides meaningful activity for the offenders. They can learn about skills, being on the clock and under a supervisor – structure,” he said.

“The partnership resulting in this IDOC crew is a good experience for everybody,” added Mike McPhillips, LaPorte District Deputy Commissioner. “INDOT is better able to deliver a well-maintained infrastructure to Hoosiers and minimum security offenders are receiving good training before re-entering society.”


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