Prison inmates help dig out crosswalks and sidewalks buried under snow in York City

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YORK, Pa. -- They are not exactly who you would expect to see shoveling snow at Continental Square in York City: prison inmates. Six work-release inmates grabbed gloves, shovels, and salt, and got to work Thursday removing snow.

City officials have their hands full removing all of the snow from the recent storm, so they reached out to the county for help.

"We're out here going block to block cleaning up the four intersections, the walkways, so everyone can make it across the street safely," said Correction Officer Matthew Reed, who supervised the group. "It’s good to get them out and among the community to help the community. It brightens their morale up," he said.

The group worked to clear sidewalks and crosswalks to make them passable. They started at the square and worked down East Market Street.

"I haven't seen snow like this for a while," said inmate Brandon Duffey as he scooped snow off of a bench along East Market Street. Duffey is part of the CCP -- or Community Cleanup Program -- at the York County Prison. The inmates are low-level offenders who are considered safe to be out in the community.

"Every street corner you go to, there's sidewalks shut down. So we're just trying to open them back up," said Duffey.

Their work did not go unnoticed. Fidel Calcago, who owns SUS Tax Center on East Market Street was impressed. "I was trying to give them a tip, but they wouldn't take it," he laughed. "They did a nice job cleaning the front of the store," he said.

The inmates were more than happy to help. "It's good. It gets us out, and we get to help out. Everybody gets to think about what they did, and at the same time we are helping the community," said Duffey.

The help comes just in time for York. Last weekends snow storm wiped out the city's snow budget in one shot.  The city is currently pulling from other funds to make up the difference.