Lake Topanemus Park in Freehold, where post-winter refurbishments had yet to be completed is now ready for tourism season, thanks to inmates in a program run by Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden.

Monmouth County Inmates Tend Lake Topanemus Park (Sheriff Shaun Golden)

Five people serving time for minor offenses were recruited for a week of tree-trimming, mulching, raking and underbrush removal starting last Monday.

Golden says that the Inmate Labor Program offers prisoners with good conduct records an alternative to time behind the walls of the Monmouth County Correctional Institution, while giving some relief to strained municipal budgets.

Program Coordinator Medora Morris determines tasks to be assigned and oversees crew selection. Sheriff's officers ferry and secure the inmates.

"This program not only helps the towns save money on labor, but also assists the work crew in giving back to society," Golden said in a prepared release.

In 2013, according to Golden's office, inmates contributed 1260 hours of labor to a wide swath of projects including storm damage repairs, carpentry, painting, and historic site restorations.