A South Central Kentucky jail is offering over two dozen of its inmates the opportunity to better themselves outside of the concrete walls.
“If I hadn’t came to this jail,” Joe Young, who has been an inmate at the Simpson County Detention Center since July 2017 says, “I would probably still be sitting idly on my hands.”
The Simpson County Detention Center has been changing lives for over two years through SCORE—Second Chance Offender Rehabilitation and Education Work Release Program—but in just a matter of weeks, the third and final stage will be underway.
The first stage involves classes addressing the inmates individual needs, such as thinking, parenting, anger management.
Stage two involves community service work and now, stage three means becoming an employee in the workforce and earning a livable wage while still serving time.
Twenty to twenty-five inmates are eligible and SCORE Program Director Ashley Penn says a few local businesses are already willing to hire,
“They can start saving money towards housing, transportation, the things they’re going to need. They’ll also be paying towards restitution, child support, or any other court costs they have which is a lot of the reason why people do come back to jail—because they’re not meeting those obligations after release.”
Inmate Young, who is eligible for stage three, agrees, “A lot of inmates when they’re released don’t have any income whatsoever, so by doing this program I think it’s going to help out tremendously.”
The jail says its about creating tax payers, not tax burdens, and in just a matter of weeks nearly two dozen inmates walking out the jail doors will be beginning to do just that.
“Our incarceration rate is too high,” Penn says, “and were not having any success by just warehousing them so to speak, so by just giving them an opportunity to be successful, we hope to enhance their lives, their families live, and the community.”
Inmate Young says, “I have the greatest respect for where I’m at right now.”
Inmates eligible for stage three, such as Young, must pass certain requirements. They can’t be violent or sexual offenders, committed only class D felonies, have no disciplinary issues, and have either a high school diploma or GED.