SIMPSON COUNTY, Ky. – As jails continue to deal with overcrowding county jailers are getting creative to try and curb recidivism rates.
SCORE in the Simpson County Detention Center allows inmates to begin working in the public while still serving out their sentences.
In able to qualify for the program a person must be a low-level offender with no violence or sex-related offenses and have at least a GED, once those requirements are fulfilled inmates are able to go to work outside of jail walls.
The benefits of the program go beyond just the inmate.
“We had one business that when started had one shift over a period of six months to a year they created three shifts and are not in the process of opening up a business in Georgia,” said Eric Vaughn, Simpson County Jailer. “It’s a benefit to the community, not only the inmates but the local businesses as well.”
Vaughn says having inmates work at local businesses gives them reliable employees.
“As a business owner they knew that these guys were going to be there every day, they’re going to work hard because they don’t want to work for $0.63 a day, they are going to work for a living wage,” said Vaughn “I think it makes it easier for the inmates because they have their own bank account, so they are paying off restitution to the courts, they are also paying their child support if they have any.”
Vaughn says since the program has begun the county has collected about $100,000 toward restitution to courts and child support.
Around 40 people are currently enrolled in the program and some inmates are thriving.
“One of the residents was employee of the month at a big factory,” Vaughn said. “So there are positives coming out this left and right.”
The program also allows inmates to provide for their families while behind bars. A female enrolled in the program was able to provide her son with braces and her daughter with glasses through the insurance that is provided through her public sector job.
“That’s unheard of if they don’t have those resources who’s going to pay for those things? Who’s going to pay for those necessities? The taxpayers are going to pay for it,” said Vaughn. “Right now they are holding their own and taking care of their families from inside a jail cell.”
Since implementing SCORE behavior inside the detention center has been greatly improved.
“Their behavior is a lot better than a facility without the benefits, and it creates a safer environment of my staff and the inmates,” Vaughn said. “The inmates seem to respect each other because they don’t want to get thrown out of the programs, they don’t want to give up the benefits they’re getting.”
After completing their sentences many participants enrolled in the program are able to continue their employment at the job causing the success rate of the participants to rise to 81 percent.
More information can be found on the program here.