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New center in Gadsden County to equip inmates with educational and vocational training

So they can join the workforce when they're out
050222 Gadsden County detention facility.bmp
Posted at 11:25 PM, May 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-03 00:28:10-04

GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — "I think this will help give the inmates something to look forward to out of jail."

Phatarios Hall serves the communities of Gadsden County. As a firefighter, he says this can have positive impacts across the board.

"Maybe buy a new home, car, apartment, for their kids anything, clothes on their back, food on the tables."

It's a new Educational and Vocational Training Center designed to inspire inmates at the Gadsden County Correctional Facility to join the workforce after they're released.

"Everywhere you look there's a poster saying 'hiring'."

Gadsden County Sheriff's Office Colonel, Robert Barkley, says the new center will provide substance abuse and mental health counseling. Plus, it'll help inmates get their GEDs.

"The problem is companies can't find enough help, so we equip these inmates to do training and learn job skills then they'll be self-sufficient."

He hopes they can reach at least 10 percent of the correctional facility's population. Another goal, reduce crime by giving inmates the tools they need to transition back into society.

"We want to make sure they leave here in better shape than when they got here...we find if they've got a job they can be self-sufficient and take care of their family, if not we know statistically they'll end up committing crimes and go right back in jail, so what the sheriff wants to do is make sure we put something in place to make sure we help the inmates be self-sufficient when they leave the jail."

The facility is expected to cost around $200,000.

Trulieve has covered some of the structural costs of the new center and the Inmate Welfare Fund will take care of the rest.

Something Phatarios knows will make a difference.

"They can be just regular people instead of ex-cons or ex-felons…whatever the case may be."

The Gadsden County Commission still needs to give their final approval of the new center since they own the correctional facility site. That vote is set to be made on Tuesday night at 6 PM.

They hope to complete the new Educational and Vocational Training Center within the next 3 months.