Delaware County inmates volunteer to remove trash from roadways through new program
MUNCIE, Ind. — The inmates were hard at work along the state highway but “Cool Hand Luke” it wasn’t.
The four men clad in orange jail uniforms weren’t chained together, and they had volunteered to be part of Ray Dudley’s inaugural “sheriff’s work crew,” The Star Press reports.
The Delaware County sheriff said the new program will see inmate volunteers working to remove trash from roadways in the area.
Tuesday’s mid-day efforts were focused on the area of Ind. 332 and Clara Lane, near the Stoops auto dealership and the recently closed hhgregg store.
“We’ve had several complaints about the trash along the roadway here, not only (Ind.) 332 but also on the side road here,” Dudley told The Star Press. “So we started today. We’re going to try to get all of this cleaned up.
“We’ll have Ball State students and their parents coming in for the new school year. We’ll try to make the city work a little bit better.”
The sheriff said about half of the inmates in the Delaware County jail have applied to participate in the work-crew program.
“It’s a chance for them to get outside and get a little free weather,” he said. “(Applicants) know they can’t have any write-ups, or aggression in the jail.
“It’s really helping us out tremendously because now we have inmates that normally might get in trouble that now (are) trying to watch themselves because they want to get on the work crew.”
At that point the sheriff was called away. An inmate had discovered a used syringe in the high grass along the four-lane state highway.
“Bring it over here,” Dudley said. “Put it on the back on the car.”
The sheriff said the prisoners participating in the program are “hand-selected, not only by Jason Roberts, who runs the program, but (also) the jail commander, who has the final say-so.”
Several inmates will participate with the crew, the sheriff said.
“It’s not the same inmates every time, he said. “And we don’t (announce) in advance the location that we’re going, or the day we’re going.”
One of the inmates participating in Tuesday’s work was 23-year-old John Quincy Adam Truett, awaiting trial on robbery and burglary charges.
Asked why he had volunteered, Truett acknowledged it gave him a chance to get outside, but also to make amends for past mistakes.
“I’ve been a nuisance,” he said. “That’s why I’m behind bars. … We might as well help clean up Muncie.”