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"Fresh Start" Pilot Program Coming to Franklin County Jail

"Fresh Start" Pilot Program Coming to Franklin County Jail
"Fresh Start" Pilot Program Coming to Franklin County Jail
Posted at 4:59 PM, Aug 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-09 14:35:17-04

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) - In June, WTXL shared a story about an oyster harvesting training course offered to inmates in the Franklin County Jail to keep their licenses up to date.

Soon, those inmates will have another program to choose from called Fresh Start.

It's a program for inmates aimed at doing just that...giving them a fresh start at life when it's time re-enter society.

This program, started by former inmate Tim Terry, in South Carolina...is in use at prisons there. However, in Florida, Franklin County is the only county jail adding it to a list of inmate programs.

"I was introduced to Mr. Terry from some folks at the Methodist church in CarrTabelle," says Franklin County Sheriff A. J. Smith. "I liked what he had to say. I liked how his program was very structured, and it was a way to change the behaviors of people in jail, particularly those who are addicted to drugs, and them give them a new start at life."

Of course a program like this does cost money.

"It's about $1500 a month to pay for some of the staff that Mr. Terry has, which I think is a very minimal cost," continues Smith. "Actually, a lot of the community has come together and have volunteered to pay for it."

For the individuals participating in this program, they will be living together in quarters for the duration in order to hold each other and themselves accountable.

"Your environment sometimes dictates what you become," explains Smith. "We want to keep them in an environment that's positive and an environment that they are all working together for the same end."

The Fresh Start program gets underway August 21 with about 20 inmates. Those involved in the program are required to take five classes per week.

They must have their GED, or be working towards getting it. Mentors will also be available to reinforce their efforts for their fresh start.

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