Vigo County Community Corrections offenders set to pick up trash

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Vigo County commissioner Brendan Kearns says trash on the streets is a problem that not only impacts the way Vigo County looks, but it is also costly.

“Every time we have to send two guys in one of our trucks out to clean up a truckload of stuff that was dumped, it costs the county at least 1,000 dollars,” Kearns said.

Vigo County Community Corrections holds offenders that take part in home detention, community service, and work release programs.

Soon, some of these offenders will have the chance to impact their community by making Vigo County cleaner.

“Over the last few years a lot of people in the community have said ‘Hey why aren’t the offenders out there picking up trash’, so recently we were able to work with our Community Corrections director Bill Watson to get a plan in place,” Kearns said.

According to Watson, Community Corrections has operated a version of offender trash clean up crews that work a total of 29 hours a week, a number that Watson says had to be scaled back for several reasons.

“It’s resources, money, and you know, staffing, those sorts of things have forced it to be cut back through the years,” Watson said.

Under the new program, Watson says he hopes to have crews cleaning up a total of 60 hours a week in various locations throughout the county.

He says these crews will be chosen based on those who needs community service hours as part of their sentencing requirements and offenders who volunteer.

Watson says he believes these clean up crews will not only serve the community, but also help the offenders that are involved.

“It’s something they can do for their community, at the same time they see some accomplishment from what they do. It’s a resource for the highway department, counties, the city, that just don’t have the additional dollars to do this type of clean up work,” Watson said.

According to Kearns there is no set schedule for the areas where inmates will volunteer and it is based on need.

Watson says correctional offenders will be supervised by Community Corrections staff during these clean ups. The offenders will be taken to and from their clean up locations by a van.

The program will not shorten any sentences.

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