FALL RIVER - Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson formally offered to send local inmates to assist in the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border proposed by President-Elect Donald Trump.

The announcement came during Hodgson's inauguration address Wednesday evening at Bristol Community College as he was sworn in for his fourth term in office.

"I can think of no other project that would have such a positive impact on our inmates and our country than building this wall," Hodgson said. "Aside from learning and perfecting construction skills, the symbolism of these inmates building a wall to prevent crime in communities around the country, and to preserve jobs and work opportunities for them and other Americans upon release, can be very powerful."

The offer came along with the debut of Project N.I.C.E., or National Inmates' Community Endeavors. The sheriff said this would be a volunteer-based program offering rehabilitation to inmates while making improvements to their communities.

"If we can get the inmates from across this country to be able to go there, work on this wall, and actually keep people from sneaking in, violating our laws and going into our communities...then it makes all the sense in the world to have them doing that," Hodgson told reporters afterward.

Hodgson said the proposal has been sent to the Trump Administration and he is awaiting a response. He added he has spoken with many sheriffs across the Commonwealth and the U.S. who have offered their support.

Project N.I.C.E. would also aim to serve as a special response imitative in the event of natural disasters or other times of crisis with little cost to taxpayers.

"It's hard to argue, regardless of what the initiative is, whether it's building a wall or rebuilding a community after a disaster, it's what government ought to be doing and every resource we have we ought to maximize the use of it," said Hodgson.

Also with an eye toward alleviating the strain on taxpayers, Hodgson is looking to secure legislative approval to bring pack the practice of charging inmates a daily $5 fee to cover costs of incarceration.

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