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Prison inmates remove statehouse furniture before renovation

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey is borrowing more than $300 million to renovate its statehouse, but some of the work to clear old items out is being done by prison inmates.

Department of Corrections spokesman Matt Schuman said Tuesday the inmates are working as part of the state’s DEPTCOR program, which allows towns and state agencies to use inmate labor for projects.

The program’s website says it employees 900 incarcerated men and women across the state. The inmates are voluntarily assigned to projects to develop usable skills.

Schuman says the inmates will move the furniture, refurbish it and move it back when the renovation is complete. He says only minimum security inmates are eligible for the program.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie commissioned the renovation citing the building’s state of poor repair.

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