Lee County Sheriff’s Department becomes a member of the “Green Team”

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – A Northeast Mississippi Sheriff’s Department is recognized for its efforts to keep county roads clean using teams of state inmates.

During a recent month, state inmates picked up more than 14 tons of trash from rights of way in Lee County.

“It’s a lot out there,” said Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson.

Lee County uses nonviolent offenders for the litter pickup teams.  Sheriff Johnson says the program is a partnership among the county and state agencies.

“We’re blessed to have a good working relationship between ourselves and MDOC and MDOT for this litter program.  We take state inmates, move them here to our county, and have them do projects that kind of payback the community, and one of those is the litter pickup,” Sheriff Johnson said.

Northern District Transportation Commissioner John Caldwell says the Inmate Litter Removal Program impacts the entire state.

“When we have to do it, we can’t be patching potholes, we can’t be cutting limbs, we can’t be doing the things we like to be doing to help infrastructure in our communities,” Commissioner Caldwell said.

Using state inmates to pick up litter along roadways not only helps keep the county clean, but there are also benefits for taxpayers, and the inmates themselves.

“You’re literally not having to pay somebody physically to get out there and do it.  It does help and these guys have earned this opportunity to come here, they have to be classified as a nonviolent offender.  It helps their families because many of them are from here, North Mississippi area, so visitation is a lot easier whenever their family wants to visit them,” Johnson said.

MDOT assists with securing transportation mileage reimbursement,  guard salaries, and when available, a vehicle.  MDOT also furnishes trash bags, safety vests, gloves, and advisory signs.

Many counties throughout the state take part in the Inmate Litter Removal Program.

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