DIAMOND (AP) — More than a dozen Illinois prison inmates are helping clear tornado debris from the village of Diamond to the south of Chicago.
Wearing red jumpsuits, the men helped load wreckage onto a truck Tuesday under the watch of a guard, according to a report in The (Joliet) Herald-News.
Mayor Teresa Kernc said the extra help was “phenomenal,” adding that hiring a contractor to do the work would cost about $46,000.
“That’s a pretty serious blow to our budget,” Kernc said.
The community about 50 miles southwest of Chicago was among those that took a direct hit in the Nov. 17 storm, which sent two dozen tornadoes tearing across Illinois. Seven deaths were blamed on the storms.
The Illinois Department of Corrections has been deploying teams of inmates to help in several areas. It says such work is intended to help prepare prisoners for re-entering society.
One inmate said Tuesday that the work was good for the community.
Inmates have also been working on cleanup projects in Gifford and Brookport, logging more than 800 hours of labor.