Jail announces work program to prevent recidivism

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – From tax burdens to taxpayers, the Warren County Regional Jail is providing inmates opportunities to prepare for the future, while they are still serving time.

At a press conference Friday, Warren County Jailer Stephen Harmon, announced a new project at the Warren County Regional Jail.

The Warren County Regional Jail will soon be one of only four jails in the state to offer a work release program that pays living wages allowing inmates to pay fines and save money so that when they leave the jail they have money.

One thing sets this program apart from the others around the state. The Career Team that works in conjunction with the Kentucky Career Center is partnering with the jail to help the individuals find jobs that fit with their interests and talents.

“The idea is that when they do get out that they will continue with that job,” Bobbi Steelman, executive director of Career Team, said.

Harmon said this program will hopefully change the lives of those behind bars.

“We are really excited to kick it off here on Aug. 1,” Harmon said.

Felony Re-entry Equal Employment, also known as the F.R.E.E. program, is giving inmates at the jail the chance to take part in an optional work release program.

The program is designed to reintegrate inmates back into society by giving them an opportunity to save money to fall back on once they are released.

It also allows local businesses to receive benefits by giving felons a second chance.

Inmates who qualify and are approved by the Department of Corrections will get the opportunity to work with local companies and make a livable wage.

“I look at it as experience to show all the other guys if you’re willing to change and seek God and actually make a change for yourself there’s always someone out there to give you a hand and wanting to help you out,” Eliezer Mendez, first inmate approved for program, said.

A representative from German-American bank announced they will be setting up bank accounts for the inmates to save their earnings so that upon their release the inmates have money for housing, transportation and other necessities to help them remain employed and prevent them from returning to jail.