Everybody needs help sometimes.

Recognizing that many serving time for small infractions at the Floyd County Jail are in need of assistance, the Sheriff’s Office is beginning what they’re terming at the FREED program.

The purpose of the Floyd Re-Entry, Education and Discharge program, hence FREED, is to not only make sure that underserved populations are aware of community services. It’s to also teach them how to cope with the issues that may have brought them to the jail, Jenn Cronan the manager of offender services in the program said.

The program kicks off Monday, and Cronan said she’s excited to see it not only begin but start growing.

“This program is the first step of my plan to reduce the recidivism rate in our county,” Sheriff Dave Roberson said. “We want to see long term success with FREED. We will move slowly through the process initially to ensure that we are providing a quality service instead of just a quick fix.”

The program will be available to people who have already been sentenced but are serving out that sentence at the county jail.

The length of the program is expected to be around six months and will begin with an assessment.

During the assessment the case managers are seeking to identify substance abuse issues, mental health issues and the person’s education level.

They’ll also be looking for any special skills or certifications the person may have when seeking employment.

“The focus will be primarily on re-entry to the community and mental health case management,” Cronan said in a release. They’ll work to stabilize and begin working through any mental health or substance abuse issues.

The hope is to give that person the toolbox to work through their issues prior to and after release.

“When they are ready to be released from custody we will provide them with information on local agencies and services that can be helpful to them,” Cronan said. “They will be given a list of potential employers based on their assessment package.”

But that’s not it, upon release they’ll also follow up.

“We want to follow up with a continuum of care to give them the best opportunity to succeed,” she said. “We are hopeful that the FREED program can one day be incorporated into offender sentences by the court system and have completion be a requirement.”

In addition, the preparation put into the program will be used to help those released from the jail.

“Every inmate that is released from our facility will receive a packet of resources,” she said. That packet will contain locations a person can find food, or shelter or services.

Looking ahead they’re hoping to building the program up, Roberson said, and will track the recidivism rates of those who participate and monitor the success of the program in order to shape it to serve those participating.

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