After receiving numerous complaints of trash on the sides of the roads from residents in many areas of the county, Board of Supervisor member Bill Thomasson and I researched the legalities of possibly utilizing inmates for community service.
Back in mid-July, BCSO launched the “Inmate Work Force”, allowing non-violent inmates that qualify, to join this outside work detail program. Not only would this help Bedford County stay beautiful, it was also a great opportunity for these non-violent inmates to build their self-esteem and give something back to their community.
Since July, the Work Force goes out on trash patrol three days a week, usually with two inmates and one off-duty deputy. It is mind-boggling, but this initiative has already collected 750 bags of trash!
Thanks to a cooperative agreement with VDOT, bright orange trash bags are supplied to the work force then when their shift is complete, VDOT pick up the bags and transports them to the landfill. The jail agreed to pack bag lunches for the inmates while they’re out working and the Inmate Work Force van is equipped with a tag-a-long port-a-potty.
It’s a win-win service for everyone in the county!
The work force deputy tries to cover all different areas of the county. However, I suggest if you wish to report a high-trash area, to please notify your area Board of Supervisor and he/she will contact BCSO for scheduling. Big results can come from small investments; Total cost involved with this project is $30,000 a year. With this kind of volume of trash being removed from our roadsides, I would say its well worth it!