By Megan Sando
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Convicted nonviolent offenders in Payne County will be able to literally clean their way out of jail later this summer.
The CLEAN program will allow nonviolent offenders in Payne County to perform community service instead of jail time, County Commission Chairman Chris Reding said.
Offenders eligible for the program include those convicted of driving without a license, bad checks or a small amount of illegal drugs, Reding said.
The offenders will perform services such as cleaning illegal dumping sites, cutting grass on county roads, helping install signs and cleaning parks, roadways and streets, as long as its on county property.
Reding will oversee the program. Reding gives three reasons for the program:
• Gives the judge an alternative to jail time.
• Provides manpower for the county at little or no cost.
• Lets offenders atone for mistakes without drastically changing their lives.
“It helps folks that are in these situations to not have a major disruption like jail when they are caught in a bad spot,” Reding said. “If they work at night, for instance, they can go on living their life.”
The program is based on the SHINE program in Oklahoma County, started by County Commissioner Brian Maughan.
The SHINE program focuses on covering-up graffiti. Payne County’s program will focus on cleaning illegal dump sites, Reding said.
There are a few ways that a person will not qualify for the program. Anyone under 18, convicted of a violent crime or a sex crime is disqualified. All participantsmust also be assigned to community service by a judge and processed by Payne County Community Sentencing.
Community Sentencing Director Dee Miller said she and Tina Bolton, research assistant for the Payne County Commissioners office, will meet Monday to discuss probation work.
“We generally have the offenders do work at nonprofit organizations, but we want to make sure that the county can benefit from those community services also, Miller said.
“One of the benefits of the CLEAN Program is that it will save taxpayers money by reducing Payne County’s jail population while saving the county the costs of accommodating low-level offenders. In addition, the program will provide free labor for basic county duties, such as picking up litter and cleaning up brush,” Bolten said.
Reding said it is “very close” to being implemented, and hopes it will be ready in the next couple weeks.