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updated: 12/20/2013 4:23 PM

Inmates tearing down vacant buildings

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Associated Press

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says 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 says 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 says 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 South suburban Ford Heights. And inmates are doing janitorial work at the Cook County jail.

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