NORMAN — Three Cleveland County Detention Center inmates graduated from a new program last week that is designed to help them become more employable once they are released.
State Sen. Anothony Sykes, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, attended the graduation ceremony and applauded the graduates and Sheriff Joe Lester.
“I was very impressed with the graduates’ accomplishments and wish them well in their future,” Sykes said. “I commend Sheriff Lester for allowing this program that will give offenders an avenue to rehabilitation.”
CCDC is the first facility in the state to offer the program IN2WORK, which not only gives inmates job skills, but a food handler’s permit once they graduate and are released from jail. IN2WORK takes 90 days to complete.
The program was designed to provide inmates with food service, retail, ServSafe and practical work experience, said Richard Analla, food services director at the Cleveland County Detention Center.
Using the skills and knowledge gained through the program, students capitalized the opportunity and acquired the ability to become more employable upon release, Analla said.
“The success of the program and for each workmate was achieved only through the ongoing partnership between ARAMARK Correctional Services and Cleveland County Justice Center staff,” he said.
“Through daily coordination and cooperation between the command staff, program/case manager and detention staff, our students were able to complete a six-to-nine month culinary course in only 90 days, a truly, remarkable feature.”
Detention Chief Carrie Davis said participation in this program will teach marketable skills to help reduce recidivism.
“This means making sure they are given the rehabilitation, training and education that will allow them to make better choices when they leave,” Davis said.
“We expect more from our inmates, so they will have a better outcome when they leave our facility. It is a privilege to be the first county in the state to partner with ARAMARK to initiate this wonderful program. I am honored to have worked with the outstanding individuals who helped get this started.”
Sheriff Joe Lester said IN2WORK gives inmates confidence and job skills needed to turn their lives around and become productive citizens.
“Each person who enrolls and graduates from this program takes the first steps to leaving the criminal world behind and turning their lives around for the better,” Lester said. “IN2WORK can lead to great opportunities for offenders and help them reach success.”