Habitat for Humanity Courts Prisoners
Foreman, Chris, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Low-risk inmates at the Fayette County Prison might have the chance to complete a community-service requirement through Habitat for Humanity.
Representatives of the local Habitat affiliate asked county prison board members Wednesday to consider the nonprofit building program as a way for some nonviolent criminal offenders to give back to the community.
Habitat officials are planning an aggressive building schedule for the Fayette chapter, which was founded in 2000. Five homes are on the list for this year, but the group wants to be able to build 20 a year by 2010, said John Morgan, the chapter's executive director.
A survey identified more than 1,200 substandard county homes, making those residents potentially eligible for aid through Habitat.
"We need all the help we can get, and I think it would be a great opportunity for both of us," Morgan said.
Prison board members were interested in the work-release idea, but said they wanted to learn about policies that other counties have adopted for a partnership with Habitat. Transportation is a possible roadblock.
Any participating inmate would have to sign a liability release with Habitat.
The international organization, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, offers an interest-free mortgage to eligible low-income families.
"It's a very, very good program and it would be wonderful," said Joe Hardy, a county commissioner and prison board member. …