West Virginia’s Roadside Litter Program has been doing so well, that the cost avoidance in the eastern regional prison system is about $1.6 million.
The program started in June 2018 and has made a big difference for the Berkeley County Community. “We have collected 2,400 bags of roadside litter, 1,400 other items that wouldn’t fit in a bag while covering 429 road miles,” Mike Laing said, the chief court marshal.
The total amount of trash collected right now, sums up to 41.41 tons, not counting other recyclables.
The program is another option for community service, for those who have suspended jail sentences through the judicial system.
“Misdemeanors, so they are able to come here, do some hours and pay for the classes that way instead of coming up with the cash they don’t have,” Tammy Hawkins said, the deputy chief court marshal. There are options to this program, like cleaning up roadsides, or serving the community in any way possible.
The Court Marshal and his team make sure the needs are met for every individual that enters the program. “We started this room to help people if they need clothing, shoes, to help them find jobs if they are just getting out of jail or rehab,” Hawkins said.
Individuals in the program say it has helped turn their lives around. “How little we pay attention to things around us, until you have to pick up cigarette butts or trash, it gives you a better appreciation for the world around you,” Edward Olson said, who is part of the program.
“I was given the option for this program but I’m glad that I took it, because if not I would still be incarcerated it just gives you a whole new outlook on life and appreciation,” Emily Godsey said, also in the program.
The Court Marshal said that once the community service quota is fulfilled they no longer owe anything to the county but encourage them to come back and help those who need it.