Collaborating for a cleaner South Carolina
PalmettoPride consults with state and local governments and law enforcement agencies on creating community service programs that best fit the needs of the communities. Community service can come from several key areas, including Magistrate Courts, Circuit Courts and Diversion programs.
View the SC Litter Commission’s Best Practices Guide for Community Service here.
Local and County Programs
Assign-A-Highway: Circuit Courts and Probationers
Assign-A-Highway is a litter pickup program involving the Circuit Courts, Probation and Parole and Litter Enforcement resulting in ongoing, free roadside litter removal. Similar to community service, it utilizes probationers assigned to pick up litter as a condition of their probation. Circuit Court Judges can use Assign-A-Highway as a special condition of Probation. Under this condition, the Probationer accepts to clean up litter on a one-mile section of highway for period of time.
Learn more about Assign-A-Highway here.
Assign-A-Road: Magistrate Courts and Solicitor’s Offices
Magistrate Courts and Solicitor’s Offices already have strong pre-trial and diversion programs in place that
provide community service workers. Assign-A-Road is an option for persons convicted of litter ordinances, other misdemeanors, or traffic violations. Some Magistrates are assigning 30-hours of litter pickup for local misdemeanors in lieu of jail time. For violations of the state law, community service is mandatory with a few exceptions.
Learn more about Assign-A-Road here.
The Laurens County inmate litter crew removed 38,780 pounds of trash from roadsides between January and February of 2023
Laurens County Sheriff’s Office fields litter complaints for local dumpsites. Once identified, they set up cameras and sift through trash for any possible identification on the offender.
County Inmate Litter Crews
The pathway for an county inmate to join a litter crew is not always clear cut. Inmate workers must be already sentenced for their charges. The vast majority of inmates in the county detention centers are being detained before trial, so they have not been convicted yet. When inmates are sentenced, they only stay in the detention center if their sentence is less than 90 days.
If the sentence is over 90 days, they are sent to the SC Department of Corrections. Out of the inmates that are left, they have to be medically cleared to work and some of them are not. There are also other inmate worker positions that must be filled first to sustain the operation of the detention center, such as kitchen workers and laundry workers. Additionally, inmates must comply with the county detention center’s guidelines to work, meaning they are not violent, are not escape risks, and are willing to join the litter crew.
SC Department of Corrections
The SC Department of Corrections Litter Program operates 22 litter crews with approximately 200 inmates, supervised by 16 uniformed officers and 6 non-uniform employees. Similar to county programs, it is challenging to identify qualified and willing SCDC inmates to participate in the program. Each month, litter crews traverse a total of 1,226 miles of interstate and secondary roads. (9,460 cumulative miles were interstate and 4,028 cumulative secondary roads). In FY2019, the SCDC Litter Program removed 1.9 million tons of trash from SC roadways.
The SC Department of Transportation, the SC Department of Public Safety and the SC Department of Corrections jointly entered a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperatively work together to identify and remove litter from South Carolina’s highways. Each agency has developed an improvement plan to accomplish the objective of reducing and removing litter. The SC Department of Public Safety identifies substantially littered areas on the interstate to be cleaned, the SC Department of Corrections inmate cleaning crew then coordinates cleaning schedules with the SC Department of Transportation’s mowing schedule. Below are the coordinated efforts of all cleaning events throughout the state. SCDOT is responsible for collection, transporting and weighing all litter cleaning events.
SC Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services
Probationers indeed have the ability to provide valuable services to the South Carolina community. Procedurally, in order for offenders on probation to participate in the Public Service Employment (PSE) program, this decision must be handed down from the Court. PPP staff cannot order offenders to do litter pick up. To participate in the PSE program, agencies and organizations must preregister as an official worksite with PPP and their respective county’s Litter Control Officer.