PICKENS COUNTY, SC (WSPA)— An old jail in Pickens County could soon be transformed to a center to help inmates get back on their feet, after being released.
Pickens County Council recently voted five to one to allocate $98,000 to fix up a portion of the old jail for the project, once they see a comprehensive plan from those who wish to develop it.
“We’ll set that money aside, but we’re not going to do anything until we see what’s the program going to look like,” said Roy Costner III, Pickens County Council Vice-Chairman. “We’re willing to lease the facility, fix it up to bring it to code, but we’ve got to see how that’s going to work,” Costner said.
Costner said Rev. Joe Moss came to county officials saying he was interested in trying to create a program for inmates as they get released.
“We’ve all had this as a thought of how can we help this population, this group of people. They’ve served their time, now we have to help them—reintroduce to society, and Rev. Moss came to us and said, ‘I want to be a part of that project,'” Costner said.
Rodrickus Williams said something like this would be beneficial to the county.
“Upon my release, I had no where to go,” Williams said. “I couldn’t find a job at all because of my background, and that really prevented me from getting a decent paying job.”
Williams said he went to prison in 2010, served two years behind bars, and eight years on parole. He said thereafter, he struggled for five to six years.
“So I ended up getting a job at Taco Bell, and so it was extremely rough because I also had to pay child support,” Williams said. “I would literally work 40 to 80 hours and literally bring home probably $200 out of a two week check, and that was extremely hard for me because I could barely take care of myself.”
Williams said during this time his uncle, Rev. Moss allowed him to stay in his home since he didn’t have anywhere to go.
“I asked my uncle Joe, Rev. Moss, and my aunt Linda, if I could come stay with them,” said Williams.
The man who helped him, now wants to do the same for others, right on the property of Pickens County’s old stockade.
“I became a senior chaplain in 2005 in that facility and I seen the possibilities of the inmates, they just need to be loved,” Moss said.
“If you change the way a man thinks, you can change the way he walks. When you change the way he walks, you’re going to change the way he talks, and the next thing you know, you got a changed individual,” Moss said.
Moss wants to birth The Revitalization Center.
“Transition and transformation for inmates that comes out of the prison system, and what we’re doing is transforming them from an old life to a new life,” Moss said.
“The plan is to—as inmates come out of prison, we’ll give them a place of housing,” Moss said. “The education wing will be the wing that’s connected to the sidewalk there, and that will be your lab, your computer, whatever you need to do,” Moss said. “We’re in the process of trying to find necessary housing that we need to provide for that facility right now, and we haven’t gotten to that bridge yet, but we’re very close to it,” Moss said.
He also wants to utilize the chapel to provide spiritual counseling. Moss also said they plan to help with jobs.
“And we’ve already gotten jobs lined up on the other side,” Moss said.
Pickens County Council sees the potential.
“It will wind up saving taxpayer dollars, because if you think about it, somebody gets incarcerated, we’re spending probably close to $100,000 just to keep them in jail. So, we want to make sure these people don’t fall back into that pattern of going back to jail, making the same mistakes they made before. We want to help them get on their feet,” Costner said.
Williams now has a successful food truck business called, Chef Rod on the Go. He also caters, too. As he has worked hard to get where he is today, he hopes this plan comes to fruition to help others.
“Because a lot of people get out and they literally have nothing. They go back to the same old lifestyle and end up right back into the system,” Williams said.
He said this is important.
Rev. Moss also said they are welcoming any help from the community for this project. Rev. Moss said the “plan” for the project, is in its early stages.