By Alana Gomez, WBZ-TV

TEWKSBURY (CBS) – Middlesex County is putting their prisoners to work. Inmates from the House of Corrections are clearing off roofs and digging out hydrants in a cost-saving solution for several communities.

The program is for low level offenders that are pre-screened and put through rehab. All of the prisoners are near the end of their sentences.

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The Middlesex County Sheriff says this will save the county a quarter of a million dollars this winter.

“During these very difficult financial times we’ve got frozen streets and frozen coffers,” said Sheriff Peter Koutoujian. “We’ve got a public safety need and we’ve got a public safety solution.”

WBZ-TV’s Alana Gomez reports.

One work service program raised concerns Friday, when a convict escaped in Boston during a bathroom break.

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Koutoujian says his House of Corrections program has never had a problem.

“We’ve had seven to ten thousand inmates in the program and we’ve never had a single walk-away,” said Koutoujian. “They are never out of sight of a correctional officer.”

“I’m so short now that I wouldn’t want to pick up another case for walking off,” said Michael Kosowan, who cleared off a flat school roof in Tewksbury.

Kosowan is serving a two and half year sentence for breaking into a home and is supposed to get out in June.

“I was really messed up on drugs at the time,” said Kosowan. “I just wanna stay clean, work and it’s good to be out here working on the street get that good work ethic back.”

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Kosowan has completed drug rehab programs and his GED while behind bars.