US

Louisiana short-timers and lifers earn state horticulture licenses in state prison program

  • In this April 15, 2014 photo, inmates harvest turnips at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La. Inmates at the penitentiary are getting state licenses in landscaping and horticulture. The goal is a better shot at employment after release and to use their skills on prison grounds, which are about the size of Manhattan Island. So even inmates not in the program are put to work. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

    In this April 15, 2014 photo, inmates harvest turnips at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La. Inmates at the penitentiary are getting state licenses in landscaping and horticulture. The goal is a better shot at employment after release and to use their skills on prison grounds, which are about the size of Manhattan Island. So even inmates not in the program are put to work. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this April 15, 2014 photo, inmates harvest turnips at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La. Inmates at the penitentiary are getting state licenses in landscaping and horticulture. The goal is a better shot at employment after release and to use their skills on prison grounds, which are about the size of Manhattan Island. So even inmates not in the program are put to work. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

    In this April 15, 2014 photo, inmates harvest turnips at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La. Inmates at the penitentiary are getting state licenses in landscaping and horticulture. The goal is a better shot at employment after release and to use their skills on prison grounds, which are about the size of Manhattan Island. So even inmates not in the program are put to work. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this April 15, 2014 photo, inmates harvest turnips at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La. Inmates at the penitentiary are getting state licenses in landscaping and horticulture. The goal is a better shot at employment after release and to use their skills on prison grounds, which are about the size of Manhattan Island. So even inmates not in the program are put to work. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

    In this April 15, 2014 photo, inmates harvest turnips at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La. Inmates at the penitentiary are getting state licenses in landscaping and horticulture. The goal is a better shot at employment after release and to use their skills on prison grounds, which are about the size of Manhattan Island. So even inmates not in the program are put to work. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)  (The Associated Press)

Men who may never get out of the Louisiana State Prison are getting state licenses as landscape contractors and pesticide applicators.

Some also are teaching other long-term inmates and short-timers who are serving their time in the maximum-security prison so they can get that training.

Forty-seven-year-old Michael Costello added four licenses to the landscaping license he had when he went to prison. He's now working for a pool and spa company owner who's starting a landscaping business.

Costello says he must check in weekly with the court and meet twice weekly with other former inmates and counselors.

He had an outside job lined up before his 18 months were up in October.

His boss, Kenny Demoran, says he met Costello during visits to his own twin brother.