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inmates provide support in litter control
Prison system, sheriff offices aid ODOT in litter pickup operations
LIMA (Tuesday, September 1, 2015) Litter control along area highways in the region is getting a needed boost as a result of a partnership between the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and local sheriff offices.
In April, inmates with the Allen and Putnam County Sheriff offices began picking up litter along two-lane state highways within their respective counties. The contract with the counties, which is in effect through next July, requires ODOT to pay the salary of the supervisor for each day litter pickup is performed as well as provide all safety equipment and supplies such as high-visibility vests, trash bags and any incidentals.
“We give the sheriff offices the flexibility to determine when and where they will pick up as their schedule allows. They then communicate to us those locations so we can retrieve the bags of litter gathered and document it,” said Kirk Slusher, Ohio Department of Transportation District 1 deputy director.
The effort from the county inmates supplements litter control support already being provided by the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institute in Lima. Inmates there have been picking up litter alongside the four-lane, divided routes in ODOT District 1 since 2013 with their primary concentration being Interstate 75, U.S. 30, U.S. 23, Ohio 15 and U.S. 68.
The district includes the counties of Allen, Defiance, Hancock, Hardin, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert and Wyandot.
Coming out of winter, litter pickup is typically one of the first things the department undertakes to get ready for spring. But it’s time consuming and leaves little time to perform other functions. “Our greatest need after snow and ice season is to get our workforce on our pavements, repairing any winter damage and seeing to drainage issues. The support from these entities in litter pickup frees us up to do that,” said Slusher.
The partnership with ODOT is logical said Sam Crish, Allen County Sheriff. “Placing our inmates into meaningful community service projects is always the goal. To be able to do that and support ODOT in their efforts to keep our area well maintained is a mutually-beneficial opportunity,” he said.
 “The task of litter pickup is a needed function and is something our inmates can do to contribute to the community. This partnership offers an additional opportunity for our inmates to stay engaged,” said Michael Chandler, Putnam County Sheriff.
The partnership has yielded substantial results. For example, during May and June the inmate crews from Allen and Putnam counties combined picked up approximately 300 bags of trash.
 
Ohio’s highways are essential to keeping and creating new jobs. With a mission to provide easy movement of people and goods from place to place, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is responsible for maintaining one of the largest transportation networks in the nation. Guided by ethical principles and accountability, ODOT works to improve safety, enhance travel and advance economic development. As a $2.8 billion enterprise, the department wisely invests in its core services of snow and ice removal, annual construction program and highway maintenance operations.
 
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For more information contact:
Rhonda Pees, Public Information Officer, at (419) 999-6803
or email
D01.PIO@dot.state.oh.us