Council scraps street cleaning team due to shortage of prisoners willing to do the work
Twm Owen, local democracy reporter
A council is scrapping a street cleaning team as it can no longer attract prisoners to do the work.
Inmates from HMP Prescoed, an open prison near Usk, have previously worked as part of grounds maintenance teams for Monmouthshire council carrying out simple gardening tasks and clearing litter after events including the Usk Show.
But the council has said it has been getting harder to attract prisoners to do such work as they can earn more from other placements.
The council is now axing the Community Improvement Teams the prisoners had been a part of as part of its £11.4 million cost-saving measures in its upcoming budget.
The council had been paying £15 a day per prisoner with the inmates usually working for the council for some three or four days.
The council’s head of neighbourhood services Carl Touhig has praised the prisoners who’ve worked with the council.
He said: “The prison clients have been absolutely fantastic and their support on community projects and particularly Usk show has been amazing. They have worked with us on many projects and it is with heavy heart we have proposed to disband the Community Improvement Team.
“We contribute to the volunteer prisoner costs at £15 per day not an hourly rate.”
It has said the lack of prisoners meant tasks the improvement teams had carried out were being pushed on to its general workforce.
The council is reorganising its street cleaning and grounds maintenance teams to save more than £100,000 and the proposals will also see the loss of four and half full-time jobs through voluntary redundancy.
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