DECEMBER 15, 1995

This year, hundreds of state prisons joined the ranks of businesses and civic groups across the country who promise to clear roadsides of unsightly litter.

As part of the national Adopt-A-Highway program, hundreds of inmates form 48 minimum custody prisons across North Carolina regularly police two-mile sections of road for trash and other debris.

"Gov. Jim Hunt has pushed hard to get more inmates working in every capacity possible," Correction Secretary Franklin Freeman said. "The Adopt-A-Highway program is one more job to keep prisoners working."

At least four times each year, crews of 8 to 14 inmates per prison don safety vests with the word INMATE emblazoned across the back, clean a designated section of highway for the N.C. Department of Transportation. The adopted roads, usually near the prison, are marked with a sign bearing the prison's name.

Several prisons were a part of the Adopt-A-Highway program at its inception in 1988. Other prisons joined during the year at the urging of Secretary Freeman.

The North Carolina Adopt-A-Highway program is the largest in the nation with 7,000 volunteer groups maintaining 15,000 miles of road.