The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office says its working to keep people out of jail, by teaching them skills and connecting them with jobs.
Over the past few years Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright says his inmate work program has been a success and he wants to expand it statewide.
This inmate work program isn’t just about learning skills, its about giving people hope and another chance at a better life.
The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office says it’s on the road to helping non-violent offenders like Ashley Parson break a cycle. Ashley says, “last time I got out and worked here and there, serving bar tending, it just wasn’t enough to make my payments.”
Now an inmate for failure to pay child support, Ashley is apart of a work program with an education component and life skills coaching. They learn a trade and connect with local businesses ready to give them another chance. Ashley is preparing for an interview.
Ashley says, “it’s like my first real interview I’ve had in 8 years, so I’m excited about that.”
Monday’s press conference was a push to expand the program statewide, it already has bi-partisan support, only a few more votes are needed to make it a reality.
Sheriff Wright says, “we’ve seen it over at the detention facility, we’ve let people do these kind of things and they are just changed, they feel better, they feel like we care about them.”
Funded by a Federal Grant, most of the inmates are facing sentences with family court. Taking part in the program also reduces their sentence.
Deputy Amanda Scealf is with the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s office and is the coordinator of the program.
Scealf says, ” we have a pretty high success rate… it shows that basically they’re out there working, they’re not coming back in here, so we know it’s a benefit, because it’s helping reduce our recidivism.”
Ashley says “I was mad because I was here, like bitter, but i’m not anymore, as bad as it sucks, I know that i’ve been given an opportunity that not everybody’s getting.”
Inmates will not earn a paycheck, but will walk away with the skills and ability to make money.
The Sheriff’s Office says it can help the state save millions of dollars.