CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Two Calcasieu Correctional Center trusties walked away from their work sites last week -- one in DeQuincy last Thursday afternoon and the other in Lake Charles at Burton Coliseum last Friday. Now, the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office is making sure it doesn't happen again.
"It can happen, yes," said sheriff Tony Mancuso. "We're going to do everything that we can to make sure it doesn't happen again, but it can happen. It's not a fail proof system, but the benefits, I believe, outweigh the consequences."
Mancuso says the department will now take a closer look at the trusty classification process to make sure inmates meet the exact criteria of a trusty. He also says though the incident may have raised questions on the program's effectiveness. He says he stands by the program and that trusties are simply normal people working towards a better life.
"It helps you do the right thing," said Calcasieu Correctional Center trusty Jarred Carpenter of Lake Charles.
Carpenter was charged with simple burglary last January for stealing a vehicle. He says the trusty program, along with deputy supervisors, has helped him gain useful knowledge for future work opportunities and has mentally put him in the right place.
"It makes you want to do the right thing," said Carpenter. "Speaking for myself, you know, a structured environment helps a lot. I'm ready to go home and do the right thing."
For 48-year-old Michael Muse of Lake Charles, who was charged with third offense DWI, his final day as a trusty at the Iowa Police Department is fast approaching, and he says the trusty program gave him a certain amount of freedom.
"I got to actually be myself," said Muse. "I could go out to work every day and do the things I would normally do."
Mancuso says though escape incidents may happen, they are rare, and he still stands by the program.
"If we can find some way to have some type of re-entry to integrate them back to society as a productive citizen, this is one of those ways to do that: by having a trusty program."
Mancuso says there are 283 trusties at the sheriff's department, and any who attempt to escape face the possibility of criminal charges, thus preventing them from future trusty eligibility.
He also says it may also ruin the chances of being eligible for a work release program.