Inmate work crew helps keep cemetery pristine

This photo shows the entrance to Evergreen Cemetery on Wednesday afternoon as an inmate work crew tends to the upkeep on the grounds, including lawn mowing.

ONTARIO — What does it take to maintain the final resting places of Ontario residents?

For Evergreen Cemetery, a crew of minimum security inmates are part of the reason everything looks so well cared for. The crews are made up of minimum security inmates that have undergone a screening process. These inmates are ones who are getting ready to be released, and are eligible for work behavior based on good behavior.

No medium security inmates are on any of the crews.

Job detail benefits community and inmates

Amber Campbell, public information officer for the Snake River Correctional Institution, tells the Argus that the program is beneficial for both the community and the inmates. She said how participating in community service can be a healing process for many of the inmates, as it serves as a time of self-reflection, along with gaining a new skill set.

Campbell said that inmate crews also show up at the cemetery in the spring and before Memorial Day to spruce up the surroundings.

More about work crews

Crews are limited in size to about 18 inmates, according to Campbell. She said one officer is assigned for every 10 inmates when crews are out in the community. Campbell said that it is important that the community feels safe. The crews perform work at a variety of places in the community, including Four Rivers Cultural Center, the annual Festival of Trees at the Clarion Inn and school grounds.

No work is performed on school grounds while class is in session. Campbell said there are “a lot of layers” to this program. The community benefits from the work that is being completed and the inmates have a chance to “give back to the community.”

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