New center in Gadsden County to give inmates vocational skills training
GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) – “I think this will help give inmates something to look forward to getting out of jail.”
Phatarios Hall serves communities in Gadsden County. As a firefighter, he says it can have positive impacts at all levels.
“Maybe buying a new house, a car, an apartment, for their children anything, clothes on their backs, food on the tables.”
It is a new educational and vocational training facility designed to inspire inmates at Gadsden County Correctional Facility to join the workforce upon release.
“Everywhere you look there’s a sign saying ‘hiring’.”
Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office Col. Robert Barkley said the new center would provide addiction and mental health counseling. Plus, it will help inmates get their GED.
“The problem is that companies can’t find enough help, so we’re equipping these inmates to get training and job skills, and then they’ll be self-sufficient.”
He hopes they can reach at least 10% of the correctional facility’s population. Another goal is to reduce crime by giving prisoners the tools they need to reintegrate into society.
“We want to make sure they leave here in better shape than when they arrived here…we find that if they have a job they can be self-sufficient and take care of their families, otherwise we know statistically that they will end up committing crimes and immediately going back to jail, so what the sheriff wants to do is make sure that we put something in place to make sure that we help inmates be self-reliant when they leave prison.”
Installation 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 the difference.
“They may just be regular people instead of ex-con or ex-criminals… whatever.”
The Gadsden County Commission has yet to give final approval for the new center as it owns the correctional facility site. This vote should take place Tuesday evening at 6 p.m.
They hope to complete the new educational and vocational training center within the next 3 months.