Cook County inmates tear down vacant buildings

FORD HEIGHTS – Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said boot camp inmates will tear down abandoned buildings in areas hit hard by foreclosures.

Dart said Friday that more than 100 people serving Vocational Rehabilitation Impact Center sentences have been working on manual labor projects. Darts said work crews will dismantle vacant buildings in distressed communities. It’s called the Neighborhood Restoration initiative, and it’s one of a number of unusual programs Dart supports. Others include helping inmates learn to play chess and to garden.

Boot camp workers are doing other work, too. Dart said they are cleaning dog kennels at Chicago Animal Care and Control. They’re helping with maintenance work at a Housing Authority of Cook County site in suburban Ford Heights. And inmates are doing janitorial work at the Cook County jail.