Breaking the Mold: Inmates Get Second Chance

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Jail Administrator Anna Nichols, Cannon County Sheriff Billy Nichols and REACH Executive Director Angela King announced this week that a grant had been received to help inmates become productive citizens when released.
Sheriff Billy Nichols this week announces the awarding of the FY09 Recovery Act Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program Local Solicitation to Cannon County in the amount of $10,884.

The Byrne Memorial Justice Program is awarded to state agencies and local governmental entities as well as not for profit agencies and universities.

The grant also funds the support of crime prevention, improves the administration of justice, and provides services to victims of crime and other activities. The Recovery Act places great emphasis on accountability and transparency in the use of taxpayer dollars.

The main purpose of grant is to help inmates achieve their GED.

Other goals of the grant include: to preserve and create jobs and promote economic recovery; to assist those most impacted by the recession; to provide investments needed to increase economic efficiency by spurring technological advances in science and health; to invest in transportation, environmental protection and other infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits; and to stabilize state and local government budgets, in order to minimize and avoid reductions in essential services and counterproductive state and local tax increases.

The Recovery Act places great emphasis on accountability and transparency in the use of taxpayer dollars.

“Some of our inmates quit or left high school before receiving the diploma,” said Sheriff Nichols. “This grant will enable them to complete their high school education and better prepare them for the outside world once they are released.”

REACH Executive Director Angela King and Jail Administrator Anna Nichols submitted the application for the grant. Anna Nichols coordinates the classes with instructors and signs up new inmates who desire to participate in the class.

“Currently we have three women and two men participating in the classes which meet twice each week. Our goal here is to stop the revolving door and help these individuals become productive citizens of this community," said Anna Nichols.

“They need to be able to work and provide for their families and the job market is very difficult right now and without a diploma or GED it is almost impossible. I look forward to working with our new grant writer to obtain new grants to fund other programs for our inmates.”

The funds of the grant will be implemented in a proposed program called “Breaking the Mold.” The program helps inmates released from the Cannon County Jail prepare to re-enter the workforce so they do not have to revert back to criminal behavior. They will focus on GEDs and job readiness.

The program began in September 2009 and will continue through April 2010.

“The goal of Cannon County REACH is to provide a quality reentry program to inmates released from our local Jail that will enable them to enter employment and help them lead more productive lives,” said Angela King.

“I want to thank Anna and Angela for taking the time to apply for this grant to help our inmates prepare themselves for the workforce when they complete service of their sentences. Our department is glad we can assist them in trying to better their education,” Sheriff Nichols said.
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