Gadsden County Partners with FAMU in Inmate Program

Gadsden County Inmate Program
Posted at 6:00 PM, Sep 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-30 19:16:02-04

QUINCY, FL (WTXL) -- Seven inmates from the Gadsden County Jail are ready to move into the workforce, thanks to a partnership with Florida A&M University.

They've completed a horticultural and landscaping class taught through the FAMU Research and Extension Program. The inmates received certificates Wednesday at the jail, recognizing their achievements in front of family and local law enforcement.

Chris Breedlove says he finally has hope. After spending six months in jail, he's ready to go, but he's leaving with more than just his freedom.

"I feel like I got some opportunities and can grow with it. I like the outside," Breedlove said. "I'm hoping that after I complete my certificate, I'll be able to have a chance to get a job."

Out of nearly 120 inmates, only a handful are vetted and picked to be a part of the program, which is offered to all inmates. The goal is to ensure they don't fall back into crime and end up back in jail.

"We think punishment is the key to everything," said Major Shawn Wood of the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office. "I believe that punishment is part of it, but you also have to make people know they're worthwhile."

And for Breedlove, the chance to start over means a lot.

"Get my life back together, because I had fallen on hard times," he said. "Hopefully, this will be my first step."\

FAMU says Gadsden County is the first county it's partnered with. The plan is to extend the education to programs in surrounding counties.