TDOC & TDOT Announce New Inmate Reentry Program
NASHVILLE – Last night, 12 inmates graduated from the Highway Construction Technician Certification Program at DeBerry Special Needs Facility (DSNF). This program is the result of a partnership between the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT). This pilot program, which is being offered at DSNF, is designed to promote the successful reentry of offenders into the workforce by teaching inmates marketable skills that they can use both while incarcerated and post-release.
“We know that nearly 95% of the inmates will return to the community someday,” says Eric Qualls, TDOC Director of Offender Development, “We want to bridge the gap and provide inmates with the job skills they need to be successful so that they don’t return to prison.”
The innovative curriculum gives the offenders “real world” experience by combining class work with on the job training. Several area contractors committed to mentoring the inmates and offered them paid training on local work crews. According to Sherree Hall Crowder, TDOT Director of Affirmative Action Programs, “The men in this program have worked extremely hard and have been excellent additions to the work crews. We have companies already asking when the next class will take place because they want to tap into this talent pool.” Program graduate Charles Farrar adds, “A lot of these guys have nothing to go home to… no support. But programs like this one where you have some money in your bank account make you a whole lot less likely to re-offend.”
The pilot program has had great success with all graduates being offered and accepted paid, full-time employment by a local construction company.
For pictures of last night’s graduation, please visit the TDOC Flickr page at https://flic.kr/s/aHskwHXQBf