TAUNTON (CBS) — Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson is offering to send county inmates to help the city of Houston cleanup the damage from Hurricane Harvey.

The controversial sheriff drew criticism earlier this year when he proposed sending Bristol County inmates to help build the border wall. But the sheriff says the damage in Texas is so severe that all cleanup resources need to be considered.

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“At this point I think we need to use every resource in the United States to come together. They’re already saying there aren’t enough construction workers in the United States to deal with this–to rebuild. So, it seems to me to make sense to have inmates that want to volunteer to get the experience in helping rebuild something,” Hodgson told WBZ NewsRadio.

The sheriff says 10 inmates have expressed an interest in the project and adds it will also be a cost effective way to help with disaster relief.

“It’s really basically little cost to the taxpayers for the labor. But it would be not only good for the inmates but good for the people of Houston and the whole area that’s been devastated by this terrible storm,” Hodgson said.

Rescue raft cruising in a Pasadena, TX street. Pasadena is immediately east of Houston. (CBS News)

The sheriff also says that having inmates help rebuild Houston would be helpful for the prisoners. He adds that it simply makes sense to use the “pre-release” inmates.

“Having inmates be able to go in there and know they really made a positive difference in the lives of all these people who have been devastated would be a wonderful thing for them,” Hodgson said.

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He adds that a project like this can be a life-changing experience.

“Those kinds of things can change people’s minds and hearts. And we think this is something that would surely benefit the inmates–not only them but the people in that community to get back on their feet quickly,” Hodgson also said.

Hodgson says he’s hoping federal disaster relief funds can be used to pay for the inmate’s transportation and housing costs.

The plan has to gain the approval of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Sheriff’s involved, and the National Sheriff’s Association. But Hodgson says he’s already been in contact with the Sheriff’s Association and reports that the association believes the project is a good idea.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports

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