Dollar Deal!

Officials from Lauderdale County and the state were on hand Thursday at the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department to finalize a deal for a dollar.
That's how much the department paid the Mississippi Department of Transportation for a used van to transport state inmates who work as trusties.

"Frankly it gives these prisoners something to do. People like to see convicts out working and not laying up in a bunk somewhere. So, it's a great program," said Central District Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall.

Lauderdale County was one of the first counties in Mississippi to sign up for the program ten years ago and partner with the state.

Each year local officials say the program saves the county a lot of money.

"Roughly it's going to save about $100,000 (a year)," said Lauderdale County administrator Joe McCraney. "What you have is a van donated by MDOT and Dick Hall and also we have inmates that are picking up trash on the side of the road instead of having to hire people to do it."

"Besides the county recouping the expenses of having the inmate do the work, the county is also reimbursed at $20 a day per (state trusty) inmate for housing that inmate," said Sheriff Billy Sollie.

"It's a win-win deal and a great example of how state and local governments can work together," said Hall. "We have a serious litter problem in Mississippi. We spend over $3 million a year at MDOT dealing with litter."

Sheriff Sollie says the van currently being used to transport trusties to pick up trash is not dependable. He says it often breaks down and thus cannot be driven. His hope is that the new van will help his department get a full 40 hours of work each week from trusties.

Although Lauderdale County is authorized to house up to 35 state inmates who serve as trusties, for now it only has 17. Of those, about six generally pick up litter along roadways. The rest primarily work around the courthouse making necessary deliveries or performing maintenance and cleaning duties.

Meanwhile, as for the litter pickup program that involves trusties in Mississippi, MDOT officials say most counties currently participate.

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  • by Sara on May 25, 2012 at 02:38 PM
    The times I have seen the litter crews working, there has been a supervisor with them and a well-marked vehicle, with flashing lights, nearby. I appreciate the litter being picked up. I wish people would stop throwing it out. I have NEVER and will never understand why people litter. Those things can easily be disposed of properly. But at least some agency is trying to make it better. I appreciate the inmates being willing to do this. They are not forced. So their time is spent in something worthwhile instead of playing cards at the jail. As I have said elsewhere, why people must criticize and gripe about any and every thing around here is beyond my comprehension.
  • by Anonymous on May 25, 2012 at 04:48 AM
    Stupid, they are not left unsupervised. You need JESUS!!! If you have time to watch the inmates and county employees how is you job getting done?
  • by Steve Location: Lauderdale County on May 24, 2012 at 03:40 PM
    Not all the people who transport these prisoners to work details are lazy. Nor do they sit in the median smoking cigs. I suggest if you do actually see that I suggest you get the vehicle number and report it. They are working just like you ( if you work).
  • by Charles on May 24, 2012 at 02:15 PM
    Just EXACTLY what we need in this crime infested cesspool of a town! Convicts left unsupervised to roam the highways and "pick up trash". We see them from our office - no supervisor or van in sight for miles - sitting or lying down in the median smoking cigarettes. Meanwhile, my neighborhood is crawling with thugs and thieves. It used to be a nice area. Taxes go up just as fast as crime does. A new police station is NOT going to improve the character (or lack thereof) of some of the 'law enforcement' officers. Paycheck collectors; just riding around wasting gas. But, if you ever have to call 911 - see how long it takes them to respond. Gotta put the coffee and donut down and get back in the air conditioned car. Ridiculous.
    • reply
      by Michelle on May 24, 2012 at 04:16 PM in reply to Charles
      the program is a good one. I see them being supervised all the time. And as for the police, I have commented before, No one is perfect. And I think our officers do a great job. They are out there protecting you and your family. Just think of what it would be like if there were no police. I agree that things are not as safe as they use to be. That is not because of the police officers, it is because too many people are not disciplined as they were groing up. And they still think that they can get away with what they are doing. Our Police Dept has a ride along program. Go sign up for it to see for yourself what they do as they work. And while you are there, check out the police dept and how bad it is. You would not work in those conditions. There is no air conditioning in most of the building. It is really an unsuitable place to work.
    • reply
      by Ward Calhoun on May 25, 2012 at 01:41 PM in reply to Charles
      Charles - A few facts for you 1)MDOT’s Inmate Litter Removal Program, is a partnership between MDOT and the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department 2)The program utilizes state prisoners, who are wearing green and white striped pants, to remove litter from state maintained highways. 3) They are supervised by a Sheriff's Department employee at ALL times. 4)If at any time you observe anything other that number 1 thru 3 above,please contact our office at 601-482-9806 and it will be corrected.
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