Once in a while, Jersey gets something right.
On my way to work over the past couple days, I’ve seen the Orange Jumpsuit Guys picking up and bagging litter on Route 78. They are “minimum custody inmates”, and they comprise but one of 108 work details of the Community Labor Assistance Program in the state.
The program involves the use of inmates to perform numerous public service projects, including “the development of the safe play areas for children, building rehabilitation, general maintenance work, landscaping of state parks, emergency/disaster relief and removing litter from highways….”
Having inmates pick up litter on the highways is a cooperative venture between the Department of Corrections and the Department of Transportation. Over the past couple days, the prisoner detail has picked up enough trash to fill hundreds of trash bags, which are later picked up by a truck.
Given that New Jersey has plenty of prisoners and plenty of work that needs doing, this seems like a rare win-win situation. I have no doubt that the inmates appreciate not being locked up, but, at the same time, spending the day picking up God-knows-what people toss from their car windows is hard enough work to serve as a disincentive to some of them to return to prison.
Speaking of disincentives, I wish that the pigs who throw the stuff from their car windows could spend a couple weeks working with the Orange Jumpsuit Guys.