• 48°

Collins’ court thinking smart

Ironton Municipal Court Judge O. Clark Collins is sending a clear message: Do the crime, you will do the time — on the cleanup crew, that is.

Collins has taken steps to double the size of his community service work program, a plan that will put more criminals back on the right path and give them an opportunity to contribute to the community.

Collins plans to give more offenders sentenced for non-violent offenses the option of staying out of jail by performing community service. Additionally, those people who are already in jail for non-violent offenses may have the chance to shorten their jail stays by joining those work crews.

This will put as many as 20 additional workers into the county, while still allowing another crew to focus solely on the city of Ironton.

We applaud Collins for this effort and for working to come up with solutions that will both benefit Lawrence County as a whole and also ease some of the financial burden the county faces from jail overcrowding and prisoner expenses.

For the past two and half decades, Collins’ program has helped assist township trustees with cleanup programs, regularly maintain entrances and exits to the city of Ironton and the Ohio River front, help prepare and cleanup after large-scale events such as the Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade, Gus Macker basketball tournament and Rally on the River and assist with other community events in Coal Grove and across the county.

Complementing Judge Donald Capper’s program, we are confident that this increased effort will pay dividends for all involved.

Crime will never pay but, thanks to the judges’ efforts, it could give something back to the community.