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In an attempt to step out of the box, which I call the office, I accompanied Pam in her weekly patrol of the Town Cemetery. As we cleared debris and fixed fallen floral arrangements, I wondered what stories the people below could share. Not many tombstones displayed final quotes or sayings. More recent headstones showed pictures of the deceased at rest. Pam found a few markers that noted a burial of children just one day old.

Each vault can fit up to two people, she said. Other cemeteries try to fit as many as six and they don’t adjust the price. Families do not realize until much later that they purchased is shared space. During our walk, we found other Town employees inspecting the area. I introduced myself to Kent (not his real name) who was an inmate working for the Town. Apparently public works and select departments hire current inmates about to be released for one dollar a day.

§ 148-26. State policy on employment of prisoners.

(a) It is declared to be the public policy of the State of North Carolina that all able-bodied prison inmates shall be required to perform diligently all work assignments provided for them. The failure of any inmate to perform such a work assignment may result in disciplinary action.

(1) The project or service involves a type of work by which inmates can develop a skill to better equip themselves to return to society;

(2) The project or service is of benefit to the citizens of North Carolina or units of State or local government thereof, regardless of whether the project or service is performed on public or private property;

(4) Wages shall be paid in an amount not exceeding one dollar ($1.00) per day per inmate by the local or State contracting agency.




……….Oldest tombstones in Town Cemetery:  1925, 1936, 1922


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