With a crew of prison inmates picking up litter as a photo-op backdrop, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced a cleanup program for highways this spring that includes more convicts doing roadside litter duty, says the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Standing on a debris-strewn bridge, Pawlenty said that “Operation Clean-Up” will use both volunteers and convicts to pick up trash along the state’s most littered highways.
The work will include up to 1,500 convicts and 55,000 other volunteers. The convicts will not be a threat to public safety, Corrections Commissioner Joan Fabian said. “The offenders are chosen very carefully,” she said. Most will be nonviolent criminals in county “Sentencing to Service” programs. Created in 1986, those programs put offenders to work on improvement projects as alternatives to jail or fines, in combination with jail sentences or as a condition of probation. Prisoners involved be minimum-security inmates close to their release dates. They will be closely supervised.