INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Mitch Daniels has been out of the governor's office for more than two weeks conducting a book tour, but the office has been far from empty. It was occupied by prison inmates.
The inmates are part of a work release program who have given the governor's office a new look. And they did it at a price that is sure to please most taxpayers.
All of the oak woodwork in the governor's office, and there's a lot of it, has been stripped, repaired and refinished.
Maggie Ban, the governor's executive assistant admires the work.
"They understood the beauty of the office," she said, "and they were taking pride in what they were doing."
The inmates are from the Indianapolis Re-entry Center. About 15 of them did the work at Ban's request. She didn't like the fact that the woodwork in the governor's office was antiqued decades ago.
"And I had been told many times from several people that we could not fix it," she said, "that the wood was really ruined."
The workers proved those people wrong.
And as they replaced the furniture they talked about what a rare opportunity the project was.
"I really appreciated the experience," said Courtney Brown. "I wouldn't mind going into this field when I get out or something."
The payoff made the work worth it, said Henry Curtis, another of the workers.
"I dealt with the woodwork," he said. "It was tedious, but it was worth doing, and now I see the finished product, and it's beautiful."
It was a big job with a small price tag.
"When I took the project to the governor," Ban said, "his first question was, 'How much?' When I told him under a thousand dollars, he said OK."
The actual price: $825 for materials, $0 for labor.
The governor hasn't seen the work yet, but he's seen pictures, and he's planning a reception to show it off and thank those responsible. The inmates will be invited.
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