Sheriff's Column:

Improving inmates’ lives through education – pandemic style

By SHERIFF STEVE LAWSON
Posted 11/22/20

Sheriff’s Column November 22, 2020

Improving inmates’ lives through education – pandemic style

Throughout my current term as sheriff, and especially in the midst of this year’s unpredictable changes, my administration and I have kept our focus on “getting better every day.” As the barrage of 2020 events continue to strike, I have been consistently encouraged by the performance of our officers in the jail and the various programs we have continued to offer our inmates.

Time and time again, our team has gone above and beyond in accomplishing our goal of daily improvement. That was made evident to me as I signed certificates of completion for the 12 inmates who just completed our Introduction to Resume Writing class this past week.

In our efforts to help Bradley County inmates, we have safely and successfully kept our inmate education program running smoothly, even during the pandemic. We do this because the classes being taught are helping our inmates grow educationally, which ultimately helps prepare them for post-incarceration life. Whether they are trying to find a job, trying to become a better parent or simply trying to improve as an individual — we have classes set up for them to grow into who they strive to be.

Throughout this year of uncertainty, this program is one thing I am very certain about because we have seen it change inmates’ lives for the better. That is why we have done everything that we possibly can to keep it operating during the ongoing pandemic. In the beginning, we opted to put the program on hold for the safety of our inmates. We took that time to consider our options, prepare how we would pivot and carefully got it back up and running in a way that ensures that our inmates’ health is not compromised.

Prior to the pandemic, we were already offering class virtually; so, we were prepared to rely on virtual classes in order to educate while still keeping the safety of our inmates and staff as our top priority.

In 2020, we have had multiple classes offered, with over 30 inmates participating in the program. Currently, the following classes are being offered: Introduction to Anger Management, Introduction to Resume Writing and Introduction to Personal Finance.

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