State and federal inmates not serving life sentences crave it. And some prisoners are getting a taste of it in Port Arthur.
"I don't know what to think of that really," Jed Simon of Port Arthur said.
They do work for the city. They clean streets and sidewalks. And recently started repairing Port Arthur Police vehicles.
"They're inmates working on police cars. Are they fixing them right? that's the thing," Simon said.
The state and federal prison system does not allow the inmates to be photographed. But Officer Al Gillen is the closest person to the inmates. He works with them everyday and he'll stick his neck out for them on this one.
"They do us a good job everyday. If I drop by to pick them up they're ready to go to work," Officer Gillen said.
The prisoners are supervised while working on police cruisers. Gillen says the prisoners are only allowed to do vehicle maintenance.
"They don't touch the computer system and even if they did wouldn't matter. It's all pass code protected," he said.
It's all part of a program between the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the city. Officer Gillen says the inmates come from an "honor society" of sorts.
They can't have violent backgrounds. Many are considered white collar criminals. And all must be within two years of their release to qualify.
The program is helpful to Port Arthur by the way of saving money.
"Also from the standpoint of helping moral of full time employees because they relieve them of that kind of pressure that would be present," Port Arthur City Manager Floyd Johnson said.
City employees get priority jobs done while the prisoners focus on other projects. Like the one on the corner of 32nd street and Memorial Boulevard.
It used to be Port Arthur Fire Station #6 but has been remodeled on a $10,000 budget by inmates.
Now it serves as the Disaster Recovery Housing Office.
But there is more.
It's the remodeled and revamped headquarters of the Port Arthur Fire Department. From top to bottom almost everything on the building's second floor has been built from the ground up, installed or remodeled at the hands of inmates.
"My hats are off to them. They do us a good job everyday," Officer Gillen said.
Some prisoners have the skills to complete this type of work. Others learn it. But they all leave with something new.
"That's my bottom line. Let me teach them something new so they don't go back to where they came from," Officer Gillen said.
Call it redemption or at least a second chance.
"The fact that the inmates are able to get out and get skills, well I guess that's a good thing," Simon said.