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Inmates cleaning up Armstrong roads

| Tuesday, July 1, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Four Armstrong County Jail inmates collected 37 bags of trash in June during the first outing of a retooled work release program.

Another group could be out cleaning up the streets by the end of the week.

“The program has gone really well, even though we've only gotten out once,” Sheriff Bill Rupert said. “We'd like to try to start getting them out once a week, but it all comes down to our court case load and the weather.”

The Sheriff's Department outfitted the inmates in neon green jumpsuits and took them out to the park and ride at the Edgewood intersection in Manor to pick up trash on June 12. The crews cleaned three miles of Route 66.

Inmates who are deemed non-violent and are not sex offenders are paid 25 cents per hour to do jobs such as cleaning up trash, mowing grass and painting curbs in the program.

Rupert planned to take the inmates out last Thursday but was stopped by thunderstorms.

The county had a similar work release program from 2006, until it was stopped in February when an inmate walked off the job while working at a maintenance garage near the courthouse. The inmate was caught less than four hours later.

Rupert said he plans to limit crews to four inmates, who will be supervised by at least three sheriff's deputies in the new program.

“I think a program like this is needed to do trash pickups around Armstrong County,” Rupert said. “Hopefully, we'll be getting the inmates cleaning our streets on a more regular basis.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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