Inmate crews to help with Gwinnett Village roadside cleaning

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Gwinnett inmate crews could soon be cleaning up the Gwinnett Village area, after a deal was struck by commissioners Tuesday.

The decision will allow the crews to be dispatched to any of Gwinnett's community improvement districts, quasi-governmental self-taxing business districts intent on improving their communities.

"We take a lot of pride in the roadside appeal we have helped to cultivate, but it certainly isn't cheap to maintain," said Chuck Warbington, executive director for Gwinnett Village CID, the only group to express interest so far. "This process will allow us to do the same amount of maintenance for significant reduction of costs."

The agreement mimics a cooperation opening the service to Gwinnett's 15 cities, although staffing constraints will not allow immediate use, Warden David Peek said.

A year after commissioners voted to close the county prison, officials are still trying to rebuild the program, after the closure was reversed.

In the past, the prison operated 18 work crews, but staffing only allows six work crews now, which are dispatched to various parks and government buildings. Because county needs are the top priority, crews are not sent to local cities at this time, Peek said.

Officials hope to add enough staff to reissue the crews by the end of the year.