Small cemetery struggling, CPSO trusties trying to help - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Small cemetery struggling, CPSO trusties trying to help

CARLYSS, LA (KPLC) -

Trusty inmates from the Calcasieu Correctional Center help your pocket book by doing work in the community that would otherwise be paid for. But right now the trusty number is low because violent offenders and sex offenders don't qualify.

Farquhar Cemetery in Carlyss: a small, old cemetery left to families to take care of. But many passed on. 

"They didn't have anybody to cut the grass, pick up trash, things like that," said Glen Rupert, whose uncle is buried there. "Regular grounds keeping."

Rupert brought the issue to his church, Water's Edge.

"I told them if anybody's looking for an opportunity to serve in their community, local community, I think this would be a great way to get involved," said Rupert. "It's going to be an easy something to do, just takes a little sweat and time." 

Before they got the chance, someone else stepped up.

Rupert says despite the state of the cemetery, all it took was one call to the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office. They sent out trustees to cut the grass and pick up trash.

"We assign them to go out to non-profit organizations and work," said CPSO Deputy Chief Gary 'Stitch' Guillory. "Not only non-profit, but some public sectors, like they work at the Lake Charles PD, Westlake PD, Iowa PD. They're assigned to a number of different places where they go out and work during the day then they come back and stay in our facility at night." 

Guillory says the trusty status gives prisoners a goal.

"It kind of gives them something to strive for within our facility, because if they're a trusty, they're afforded certain liberties," said Guillory. "It also gives them something to work for, to stay out of disciplinary action." 

But the Sheriff's Office is struggling with trusties right now. There are 150. Guillory says that's because the rest of the prisoners don't qualify. Sexual and violent offenders can't be trustees. And while the sheriff's department is willing to help out when they can, times right now are tough. 

"We have a number of cemeteries that we upkeep," said Guillory. "We're kind of at the maximum limit, just because of the man power. At this point, we're not able to take on anymore cemeteries. It's tough just keeping up with the ones we have right now."

Rupert says the Sheriff's Department asked the group from Water's Edge to visit Farquhar Cemetery every few months to do some upkeep.

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