Suffolk officials seek ways to keep inmates off the streets

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The Town of Southampton is asking the county to do more to help inmates get their legal residence. The Town of Southampton is asking the county to do more to help inmates get their legal residence.
RIVERHEAD -

One East End town supervisor is looking for new ways to keep inmates from becoming homeless.

Residents who live around the Suffolk County Jail in Riverhead are concerned that some inmates are not leaving the area when released. Many residents say they are worried the released inmates will commit other crimes or end up homeless.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman is asking the Suffolk County sheriff, who runs the jail, to do more to get inmates back to their originating communities.

"The sheriff will transport the prisoner to the jail when they get arrested, but when they get released they're not transported,” he says.

An average of 25 inmates leave the jail every day. Many have rides pre-arranged with family or friends, but those without a ride and without their own money get bus vouchers.

Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department Chief Michael Sharkey says they've been working with the town to find some solutions, including letting discharged inmates know where nearby transportation hubs are, but some residents want a more hands-on solution.

"I think the solution is transport them back to their legal residence,” says Sandy Adams, of Riverside.

Sharkey says their hands are tied once the inmates are free.

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