Inmates dig grave to help family who lost loved one

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PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) -- Several inmates from the Pike County Detention Center in Kentucky spent Tuesday digging a grave to help a family in need.

As one person gathered leaves, others helped dig the grave and together, a team of inmates brought to life a place of rest.

"We make it nice for the family because this is the last time they're going to see their loved one before they have to bury them," said Raubie Vanover, supervisor of the work release program.

Starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday, the inmates broke ground on a hillside at the public cemetery.

"Just making it nice so when the family comes up with the funeral, it's clean, respectful, it just makes them feel good on a very sad moment," Vanover said.

Digging graves is just one of the many things inmates do through the work release program, however the job takes priority over others.

"The family don't need us a week from now. If they call, they've lost a loved one, we want to go out there and help them and do what we can," said Freddie Lewis, a Pike County Jailer.

These men, all class D state inmates, work hoping to help a family feel good during a sad time.

Jail officials believe the work helps the inmates just as much as the family.

"I'm teaching them one thing about right here, that when we're digging a grave, it could be their parents. It could be their family or somebody they know," Vanover said. "It's a respect thing, learning how to do it and learning how to do it right."

Lewis said the inmates have helped dig dozens of graves, and that he's proud of the work they do to help the community. He said he believes the work release program helps save the county millions of dollars.

All the money used for the program comes from the jail's commissary.

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