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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews

Florida Department of Corrections
Timothy H. Cannon, Interim Secretary


For Immediate Release
August 20, 2002
For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
(850) 488-0420

Prison Labor Helps
Build Migrant Worker Housing

Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Moore said today inmates at Avon Park and Hardee Correctional Institutions are learning valuable job skills, as well as providing a significant service, by working in a program to provide decent, reasonably priced housing for migrant and seasonal farm workers in Florida.

"In 1999, Governor Bush was able to secure funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to address Florida's severe shortage of decent housing for migrant and seasonal farm workers," Moore said. "The Department of Corrections is pleased to be a part of this project."

Three construction projects were approved: an 80-unit apartment complex designed for migrant worker families in Dover; a 304-bed dormitory facility in Immokalee for unaccompanied adult migrant workers; and a dormitory facility in Ruskin that will house 124 unaccompanied adult workers. All three projects are expected to be completed by mid-2003.

Moore said an agreement was reached in June 2000 to use inmate labor to build some of the housing components for the project. Vocational cabinetmaking teacher Bill Wysocki has his students building kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanity sink bases at Avon Park CI. At Hardee CI, vocational carpentry teacher Alan Ball's students are building a combination bunk bed with storage cabinets, as well as building picnic-style dining tables for the housing units.

"We're fortunate to have such talented vocational teachers working with the inmates on this project," Moore said. "If we can send our inmates back into society with marketable skills such as carpentry or cabinetmaking, we're increasing the likelihood they will become productive, law-abiding citizens. And while they're learning these skills in prison, they're helping provide affordable, decent housing for hard-working migrant workers and their families."

Moore said the department will receive about $700,000 over the life of the project to purchase materials and equipment needed to build the components.

Developers of the projects - Collier County Housing Authority, Everglades Community Association, and Catholic Charities Housing -- were chosen by the Department of Community Affairs. All developers are non-profit entities.