FRANKLIN COUNTY, FL (WTXL) -- It seems like more and more jails are offering programs for their inmates. For Franklin County Jail, the list of programs they offer seem to keep growing. Some of these programs include GED, nutritional, and fitness classes, as well as a an Oyster Harvester re-certification.
Oysters, which are always in season, create a lot of business for local harvesters on the coast. Unfortunately, some of these local harvesters wind up in jail and their licenses expire. At the Franklin County Sheriff's Office and Jail, they are taking the time to help those inmates from having that happen.
"We facilitate a class here so whoever wanted to, who was incarcerated, that wanted to take the class, we made that available to them so that they can get their certificate," says Franklin County Sheriff AJ Smith. "Their family can take it, or they can take it if they're going to be released soon so that they can get their license."
Started three years ago, inmates are who are oyster harvesters have the option to take a short course in order to re-certify themselves and have their harvester license stay current. By choosing this option, inmates save money in the long run.
"This is their livelihood, so if they don't have the opportunity to get it here, they may not be able to oyster because they may not be able to afford to get afterwards and have to pay the big fine for not getting it ahead of time," adds Captain John Summerhill, the Jail Administrator.
The inmates aren't the only ones appreciative of this re-certification course. The families are just as thankful.
Sheriff AJ Smith continues, "Some of the families who come to pick up their certificates and take time to get their license are very appreciative that they're allowing them to do that so that when they get out they can go to work."
But it doesn't just stop there. The jail also just started offering a fitness program for women.
"It's amazing. You see them after one hour of moving and they suddenly have excitement and a pep in their step," says Erika Pender, a personal trainer at the Forgotten Coast Fitness Center, as well as the inmates.
For Erika and the others who are involved in these programs, they enjoy being able to help the inmates.
They Oyster Harvester Re-certification and women's fitness program were both started at the request of the inmates. Neither program comes at any cost to the Franklin County residents.