Inmates help spruce up park for Opening Day
For those of you about to enjoy the first pitch of Opening Day at Camden Yards, remember that inmates helped make the park look pretty.
That's right, prisoners from the Eastern Shore Correctional Institution "stripped, sanded, re-stained and re-varnished players' lockers," according to a news release from the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
And inmates from the Patuxent Institution in Jessup made signs and decals.
It's all part of Maryland Correctional Enterprises, which employees more than 2,000 inmates doing $50 million in business around the state. Inmates have planted trees at Antietam Battlefield and helped restore the shoreline along the Chesapeake Bay. Yes, they also make license plates, but they also sew every flag flown at state buildings.
In the past, inmates worked to shovel snow out of the M&T Bank Stadium, "allowing the Ravens to play within hours of a blizzard," and planted flower beds and shrubbery. The inmates are in the pre-release program, meaning they are nearing freedom and the program is designed to help them enter the real world.
For more details, read the statement from prison officials:
In Prepping Oriole Park for Opening Day
Inmates made signs, restored lockers, helped honor Ernie Tyler
One of America’s premier prison industry agencies played a key role in helping Oriole Park at Camden Yards prepare for the Orioles’ home opener. Maryland Correctional Enterprises (MCE), a top ten prison industry employing more than 2,000 inmates and doing $50 million in annual business, helped equip the ballpark with signs, decals, and player locker restoration.
MCE, with plants statewide from Cumberland to the Eastern Shore, sells only to non-profits and government agencies (including the Maryland Stadium Authority); it is a totally self-supporting job skills program for offenders. The prison industry is far from the license plate maker that many recall from years gone by. Today, MCE inmates restore woodlands and orchards at Antietam Battlefield, plant shoreline-restoring bay grasses, and provide cages and grow spat to protect and replenish the Chesapeake Bay’s depleted oyster population. MCE still makes license plates, but its inmates also sew every flag flown at state buildings; do computer-assisted office design; provide signs and graphics; and restore and make office furniture, among many other things.
For Oriole Park, inmates from Eastern Correctional Institution, the Division of Correction’s largest prison south of Salisbury, stripped, sanded, re-stained, and re-varnished players’ lockers. Inmates from the MCE sign shop at Patuxent Institution in Jessup made ADA signs and various decals. And when the home dugout was named in honor of recently-deceased umpire attendant Ernie Tyler, inmates made a sign for that as well.
In the past, MCE inmates have also worked to plan and plant flower beds and shrubbery at the park. And, separately, Division of Correction pre-release inmates have helped remove tons of snow from the stadium next-door, allowing the Ravens to play within hours of a blizzard.