‘Clean Up NJ’ initiative gets boost from DOC inmates

Efforts to reduce litter along New Jersey highways will get a boost in the coming weeks from the New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC), New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Commissioner James Simpson announced on April 16.

Under an agreement that duplicates last year’s  successful inter-agency cooperative effort, the Department of Corrections will provide 100 inmates to pick up litter along highways throughout New Jersey.  Each detail of ten inmates will be supervised by a corrections officer.  DOC inmates began picking up litter today and will continue for at least ten weeks.

“The Christie Administration is working hard to attract and retain businesses and jobs, and our  Clean Up NJ initiative advances that effort and benefits the environment by creating attractive and well-maintained travel routes for residents and visitors alike,” said Simpson in a press release.

NJDOC Commissioner Gary M. Lanigan adds that this initiative is a chance to “play a part in an effort that cleans up the environment and promotes economic growth while creating an opportunity for DOC inmates to benefit New Jersey communities and businesses.”

Last year, 100 DOC inmates working for 20 weeks picked up about 370,000 pounds of litter and debris along highways.

A total of 7.5 million pounds of litter and debris was collected from NJDOT-maintained roadways in FY 2011, including the amounts collected by nearly 500 NJDOT workers.

In the first nine months of FY 12, through March, 2012, nearly 5.9 million of litter has been removed from state highways. During this same nine months, the nearly 500 NJDOT employees filled nearly 81,000 potholes and carried out other duties such as painting over graffiti, cleaning storm-water inlets and repairing guiderails.

Clean Up NJ is a multi-faceted Christie Administration effort announced in August, 2010.  It includes periodic concentrations of NJDOT maintenance forces to attend to all maintenance needs along targeted commuter corridors.  This approach helps make a visual impact in which no maintenance needs are left for another crew at another time.

NJDOT officials added the DOC inmate element to the campaign last year and are adding an Urban Youth Corps component this summer.  The Department presently is working to further expand the campaign.