Community Service Work Crews

Community Service Work Crew Request Requirements


The purpose of the Community Service Program is to provide the Cape Cod Community with free inmate labor in support of worthwhile municipal and non-profit organization projects. The Program is designed to assist the requesting organization in project completion.

The Community Service Program provides an opportunity for carefully screened inmates to “give back” to the community. It also provides them with the chance to learn certain job skills and work skills such as basic carpentry, landscaping, painting, etc. In Fiscal Year 2008 the program provided more than 41,000 man hours of skilled and semi-skilled labor for federal, state, county and municipal agencies as well as non-profit organizations from Provincetown to Bourne.

What we do:

The Community Service crews perform a wide variety of services, including: painting, landscaping, carpentry, roofing, siding, simple construction, demolition, moving services, maintenance, etc. However, the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office is not in the construction, carpentry, painting, landscaping, or maintenance business. Our primary Mission is to “Protect the public from criminal offenders by operating a safe, secure, and rehabilitative correctional facility.” The Community Service Program is designed to assist in that rehabilitation.

Please do not request our services if your organization has the resources to complete your project.

Who Can Apply?: Any Cape Cod non-profit organization or federal, state, county or municipal government may apply for our services.

Procedures for Requesting Organization

The Sheriff or his Assistant Deputy Superintendent for Community Relations can authorize the Inmate Work Crews to work on a project. If your organization would like to apply for help from an inmate work crew, please follow these procedures:

  • Your organization can fill out a Community Service Request form (link at bottom of page) or you can have the forms faxed or mailed to you. Call 508-563-4305 to request a form.
  • Once you have completely filled out the form, return it to Major Dave Neal and call Mr. Neal at 508-563-4305 to confirm that he has received your request.
  • Once your request has been received by the Sheriff’s Office it will be reviewed by Sheriff Cummings and/or Maj. Neal. You will be called and told if your request has been approved.
  • If your request has been approved it may be necessary for one of the Community Service Officers to go to your site and review the project with you.
  • Once approved, Major Neal will review the Community Service Work Schedule to see when your job can be done.
  • Once a project start date has been agreed to, be sure to call Community Service one week before commencement of the project to go over last minute logistics.


The demand for the Community Service Work crews is very high, especially during the late Spring, Summer and early Fall. Applicants are urged to send in their requests as far in advance as possible – preferably 6 to 8 weeks prior. Due to operational, staffing and security needs of the Sheriff’s Office we may have to re-schedule your project to another date. On occasion, rescheduling can occur even on the day of work commencement. We urge all applicants to have a back up plan if their project is time sensitive. Inclement weather can result in postponement.

In addition, it should be noted that the work crew may be required to leave a project on very short notice.

There are times when the number of available Community Service inmates drops to four or three or less. Less inmates on the crews means we may have to postpone work on your project, however we will do our best to accommodate and complete the job on time.

 Inmate Work Hours:

The inmate crews work five days a week. Usually, the crews leave the Barnstable County Correctional Facility (BCCF) at the Massachusetts Military Reservation (MMR) at approximately 7:30 a.m. They must return to the BCCF by 4:30 in the afternoon.

Inmate Work Crew Supervision:

The inmate work crews are supervised at all times by a trained Deputy Sheriff. The Officer endeavors to keep all inmates within sight and sound at all times. The Deputies are to supervise and not do the work unless instructing

Organization Responsibility :

Someone from the non-profit or governmental agency must be on site at all times while the crew is at your location – unless other arrangements have been made in advance. Inmates take direction and orders only from the supervising officer. You may speak to the inmates as long as the conversation does not interfere with inmate labor and as long as it is not distracting to the Officer in charge. Do not talk to the inmates about their incarceration. Do not take any pictures of the inmates. Do not give anything to the inmates except the food authorized by the on scene Deputy.

Do not give inmates cigarettes. Do not allow inmates to use your phone or cell phone. Report any of these requests immediately to the Deputy.

You must provide a bathroom for use by staff and inmates. Inmates are not allowed to enter private homes unless authorized and accompanied by the Deputy.

Inmates can not work when/where children are present.

Individuals not directly involved in your project should not be at the site gawking at the inmates.

Issues involving scheduling should be directed to ADS Neal (508-563-4305) and not directed at the on scene Deputy.

Crews will leave any job site that is deemed dangerous or if inclement weather develops.

Your organization is responsible for all expenses related to the project. Community Service officers can help you put together a stock list. All stock must be on site before commencement of work.

The requesting organization is responsible for all permits related to the work. The BCSO will not communicate directly with your town building department.


Number of inmates in a Work Crew:

There are between 1 to 6 inmates and 1 or 2 supervising deputies in each work crew.

Meals for the Crew:

Lunches for the inmates and the supervising officer must be provided if the crew is at your location at 11:30 a.m. Usually, your organization will provide to the on scene officer a take out menu from a local sub or pizza shop. Each inmate and Deputy can pick out a sandwich and a drink and a list is taken. Your organization should get the food and bring it back to the work site. The inmates appreciate and are motivated by the meals they receive “on the outside.” In addition, coffee and donuts in the early morning are greatly appreciated. Dinner must be provided for all crews working beyond 4:00 p.m. Cold drinks are appreciated, especially on hot humid days.

Community Service Paid Details:

Requesting organizations may utilize Community Service paid details. You may want to go this route if you need a project done sooner than we can schedule it. The Community Service Officer accepting the detail will be paid by your organization at the current town police department detail rate. Paid details can be utilized only if a Community Service Officer is available and only if there are enough inmates available. There is no charge for the inmate labor. Meals must still be provided. Any detail beyond 8 hours will be at time and a half. Details must be paid within 30 days.


Please send feedback or a thank you note for Community Service work performed. Send to: Sheriff James M. Cummings – Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office – 6000 Sheriff’s Place – Bourne, MA. 02532. The thank you letters are shared with the Community Service Officers involved in your project and are posted in the community service inmate POD so that they can see that their work is appreciated.

Sheriff’s Office Sign :

At the work sites the Inmate Community Service work crews will place a small, temporary sign indicating that the work is being performed by the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office. The sign will be removed at the end of each day.

Media/Press Release:

Once in a while the Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer (PIO) may be on site to take authorized pictures of the crews in action. The PIO may also interview the inmates during this time.

As Sheriff Cummings has said about the Community Service Crew program: “The Towns and charitable organizations of Barnstable County receive free labor and the taxpayers get a little bit of a break. The inmates learn job and work skills while giving back to the Community. It’s a win-win for all.”



To request a Community Service Work Crew click here.