Sheriff Rick Staly has launched his “Homeward Bound” program for inmates at the Flagler County Jail. The new program targets practical job skills, training courses to better prepare inmates for re-entry and job readiness. The first course offering will train inmates to design, develop and apply custom designed vinyl graphics onto vehicles. The course will focus first on applying the vinyl graphics to officially mark all FCSO patrol fleet vehicles.
The FCSO utilized the inmate welfare fund to purchase a special, high-tech printer capable of printing durable, scratch-resistant prints using latex water-based inks as well as other application tools and a portable outdoor application garage at no cost to the taxpayer. In addition to providing practical job skills for the inmates, the results of this course will provide significant cost savings to the taxpayers by having inmates print and apply agency vehicle markings instead of outsourcing the work. It will also allow for a faster turnaround time to keep the FCSO patrol fleet ready for service faster. (The inmate welfare fund is generated from the modest profits garnered from commissary sales. The fund is used to provide programs, equipment, games, etc. that directly benefit the welfare of the inmates. The fund is not used to purchase materials/items that are required to be provided to inmates. For example, clothing, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc.)
“This is a great opportunity for inmates to learn a practical skill while serving time in the county jail that will hopefully allow them to find a job quickly after release and get back on track to be productive members of our community,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Our goal is to help inmates leave our facility more prepared for success than when they entered.” Sheriff Staly intends to also extend this graphics application service to other government entities as a cost saving measure once the inmates are fully trained, operational and the FCSO fleet has been completed.
This will save local governments’ taxpayer money also. All proceeds gained from this initiative will go back into the inmate welfare fund to be used to support future course offerings that are currently in the planning phase. Certificate courses that will align with the local labor market needs are being explored, as well as partnering with organizations to provide the technical/skills training in areas such as culinary arts and HVAC, for example.
In addition, the program will also focus on the “soft skills” that can also hold an inmate back when trying to obtain employment once released. Learning how to effectively interview, explain gaps in a resume and speak to a supervisor will all be part of the course curriculum. The goal of Sheriff Staly’s “Homeward Bound” program is to focus on offering practical job skills and the “soft skills” training that will allow inmates to return to the community ready to compete for gainful employment in a meaningful career and will aid them to become productive citizens instead of repeat offenders.