IThe City of Snoqualmie has been using a Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) program to help maintain its 37 parks and more than 30 miles of trails for the past seven years. Snoqualmie Public Works and Parks Director Daniel J. Marcinko described it as “a really good fit for our community.”
Over the past few months, DOC program work crews have been in more visible locations, which has left some residents wondering about these supervised crews.
Marcinko said crew members are low-level inmates from the Monroe Department of Corrections Facility, with many working as part of a transition program providing them opportunities for job training as they prepare to exit the state’s correctional system.
He said crew members are carefully screened by the DOC before they are allowed in the program. While working in Snoqualmie, crews are monitored closely by a DOC officer and directed by several city employees.
“These are not ‘hardened criminals’ or violent,” said Marcinko. “Many crew members have served their time and are beginning the process of transitioning into society. The work they do affords them skills they can include on future resumes.”
In a time of tight city budgets when departments are asked to do more with less money, this program has proved beneficial to the city. It costs about $280 per day for a supervised work crew consisting of 4 to 7 members who, according to Marcinko, “do a great service for Snoqualmie.”
In recent weeks the DOC crews rebuilt a large split-rail fence surrounding a retention pond adjacent to Snoqualmie Parkway and the TPC Snoqualmie Ridge golf course. They transformed the large hillside near the Snoqualmie Community Park bog, ripping out large areas of blackberry bushes and laying new bark. They also weeded/barked the often overgrown park at the corner of Borden and Kinsey Street.
Marcinko realizes the use of these crews may make some community members apprehensive, but believes in the positive benefits of the program both for the inmates and the City of Snoqualmie. He added that many have strong skill sets and could be considered for future employment.