Road crews performing court-ordered community service won't don black-and-white-striped jail garb to pick up trash along Beaufort County roads anytime soon.
For one thing, it's just too hot, the county's jailer says.
Detention Center director Philip Foot decided to adopt the uniforms after responsibility for supervising the community service crews was shifted to him from the Public Works Department by a March 14 vote of the County Council. But the old-fashioned striped uniforms, as with other county jail-issued jumpsuits, are long-sleeved and made of heavy material.
"As summer began, I started to get worried about the heat and the workers having to wear the uniforms over their clothes," he said. "I was worried about their health -- about heat stroke or heat exhaustion."In fact, Foot said he's not sure he'll make the change at all to the striped jumpsuits, because he prefers participants to be consistently clothed throughout the year.
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Foot said he ordered about 10 sample uniforms. He could not remember exactly how much he paid for them, but estimated they were $10 to $12 each.
For about 15 years, some nonviolent offenders have been ordered by the courts to pick up trash along roads. The crews usually include those serving short sentences or weekends in jail for offenses such as driving under the influence.
During the past few months, the program has had about five participants.
The crews are stationed along highways and state roads throughout the county, sometimes -- but not always -- on major thoroughfares, where many passing motorists are likely to see them.
Trash crews will continue to wear orange vests over their street clothes, while a detention-center van and staff member sit nearby, Foot said.
"I think people know who they are and they're not being confused with other volunteer groups," he said. "We're getting the trash picked up and keeping the county clean, so that's what's important. Hopefully, they'll get the idea that whatever they've done is not worth the trouble."
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