DPSCS and Town of Sykesville Cut the Ribbon on Huge Inmate-Made Masonry “Gateway Signs”

ribbon cutting

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Towson, MD (October 6, 2011)---Secretary Gary Maynard and other top officials of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services joined Sykesville, Carroll County, and State elected officials today to cut the ribbon on large masonry signs built by inmates at the entrance to Warfield Commerce and Cultural Center on Route 32.

The signs, each 50-feet long and six-feet tall, mark the entrance to the town of Sykesville’s new Warfield business complex, at the redesigned intersection at Route 32 and Springfield Avenue which also serves as the gateway into downtown Sykesville. Low-security pre-release inmates built the signs after receiving training in masonry while incarcerated. Three of the inmate masons were on hand to see their project dedicated.

ribbon cutting

The sign-building project is part of Public Safety Works, the rapidly-expanding DPSCS effort to allow inmates who are close to release the opportunity to pay society back through significant projects that towns and non-profits might otherwise not be able to afford.  This particular project also capitalized on DPSCS’ focus on workforce development where offenders learn occupational skills behind bars.  In FY11 alone 850 offenders completed some type of training that resulted in certificates in occupations such as masonry, carpentry and printing.

“What we see here,” said DPSCS Secretary Gary Maynard, “is a truly a meaningful inmate project. Inmates learned valuable skills they can use when they get out, while at the same time helping Sykesville complete a project that might have been difficult to do without them.”

“We’re so glad Secretary Maynard told us about these projects,” said State delegate Susan Krebs. “And we have lots of ideas on how to use these men’s talents beyond this project.”

“The signs are just beautiful,” said Warfield Development President Brad Rees, who hopes one day soon to see a business and cultural park filled with tenants.

Public Safety Works (PSW) continues to gain traction and popularity all across Maryland. Just within the past two weeks alone, PSW inmate crews have cleaned a mile of debris-littered beach at Sandy Point State Park (Anne Arundel County); helped Port Deposit (Cecil County)  recover from disastrous flooding; and restored a dangerous and overgrown playground in LaVale (Allegany County).