Travelers on New Section of ICC Will Pass Tens of Thousands of Inmate-Planted Trees

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TOWSON, MD (November 21, 2011 ) --- As Lt. Governor Brown cuts the ribbon Monday on the newest section of the Inter-County Connector (Maryland Route 200), DPSCS wants excited motorists to know who’s responsible for the green scenery along much of the new road’s length: inmates. Maryland Correctional Enterprises (MCE), the prison industry arm of the Division of Correction is planting---and guaranteeing the growth of--- all those trees.

MCE inmates have planted more than 50,000 trees along the ICC so far---with more to come. Included in that total was one ten-day blitz in which fourteen inmates planted ten thousand trees on 28.8 acres. Next spring, inmates will plant another 36,000 trees.

MCE maintains the trees, and even provides a two-year warranty on their healthy growth. In addition, its inmates installed gates, cleared invasive plants, and performed other tasks along the new highway.

Unlike in days of old, Maryland’s prison industry does far more than license plates and furniture (although those items are still staples). Today’s MCE inmates contribute to MD’s sustainability through the harvest, growth, and planting of bay grasses to prevent erosion on the Chesapeake Bay, building cages for Marylanders Grow Oysters, restoring and maintaining Antietam Battlefield’s orchards, and planting trees.

MCE is one of America’s top prison industries, employing more than 2,000 inmates on average in over 30 business units that mirror work experience in the private industry. Not only do those employed by MCE learn trades such as graphic design, data entry, sewing and metal work, but they also learn everyday job skills they can use upon release such as working with a supervisor and timeliness. Products are only available to government and non-profit organizations.