Everyday inmates walk these concrete halls of Barren County Jail, but for many this jail has become a place of second chances.
“We are trying to break the cycle they are in. A lot of people when they get out, they don’t have anywhere to go. They have no where to go except what they were doing before.” says Tracy Bellamy, the Barren County Jailer.
Over 80 percent of inmates come into the jail without a high school diploma or a GED.
The Barren County Jail offers programs for inmates to get their GED and their National Career Readiness Certification while they are serving time.
For inmates like Chad Lewis, it gives him hope for a brighter future once he is released. He graduated with his GED and NCRC.
“It felt good. It was a big accomplishment for me since I have been struggling through high school and stuff like that. Now I can further my education, now that I got my GED and NCRC, with college and trades.” says Lewis.
Once these inmates are released, transitioning into life as a convicted felon is often difficult.
These programs help motivate inmates, prepare them for a career, and give them a second chance at life.
“These people are parents, they are students, and they are inmates. Many of them are employees of the jail, they work. They are ready to go into the community, be tax payers, go to church, and be with their family. I think this really contributes to that.” says Kellye Soto, the Instructor of Inmate Programs at the Barren County Jail.
A special graduation was held last week for those inmates who received their GED and NCRC.