The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office’s Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility (SPHIDF) has been awarded the 2023 Innovation Award for medium-sized facilities by the American Jail Association. Sheriff Staly, Court and Detention Services Chief Dan Engert, and other Detention Services members accepted the award at AJA’s 42nd Conference and Jail Expo on Tuesday, May 23, 2023, in Omaha, Nebraska during the awards banquet.
Detention staff attended the 5-day conference to learn about best practices and new developments in corrections. They engaged in workshops and networking opportunities with other professionals to share knowledge and insights. The conference helped to improve their skills and knowledge, which they can use to provide better services to inmates and ensure the security of the facility. The training received at the AJA Conference was a requirement under the federal grant FCSO received last year. All costs for the training were paid by the federal grant and the inmate welfare fund so that local tax dollars were not used for the training.
“This is a huge honor for our detention team, FCSO, and the community to be recognized and selected as a model for jails across the country to emulate,” said Sheriff Rick Staly. “I commend Chief Engert and his team for taking my vision for detention services and implementing an award-winning detention facility. Our inmates are taking advantage of our programs to turn their lives around to become productive citizens in the community. Many inmates have told me how grateful they are for our programs and are committed to turning their life around, which is our goal. I also want to thank our community partners. Without them, this would not have been possible.”
The AJA Innovation Award is presented to governmental or tribal correctional facilities that have developed an innovative and progressive approach that will help the industry as a whole. Three Innovation Awards are presented each year, one per facility size: large (1,000+ beds); medium (100–999 beds); and small (under 100 beds). To be chosen, correctional facilities must demonstrate that their programs had a significant impact on the effective and efficient operations of the jail and hold a reasonable prospect that other agencies, organizations, or communities may implement similar programs.
In 2022, the SPHIDF significantly enhanced inmate programming services in an effort to improve inmate outcomes. Through a partnership with Flagler Technical College, the facility implemented the Homeward Bound Initiative. This program currently offers three certificate course offerings to provide job skills training and certificates issued by the Florida Department of Education along with GED education.
The 120-hour Vinyl Graphics Application course provides skills training on the printing, cutting, and application of vinyl graphic designs onto vehicles. The inmates apply all the insignias and reflective markings on marked FCSO agency vehicles. To date, they have experience applying agency graphics with multiple patrol vehicle models, trailers, motorcycles, boats, ATVs, Mobile Tactical Command vehicles, and windows in the new Sheriff’s Operations Center.
The HVAC Pre-Apprenticeship Program is a six-month course that gives inmate students the knowledge and necessary skills to fill entry-level positions in the HVAC field, including how to install, service, and repair commercial and residential heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning equipment. In addition, each graduate of the program has passed the Section 608 test required by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for those who want to work in the HVAC field.
The Food Service Management/Culinary course is a 120-hour course with instruction under the tutelage of a professional chef who works at Beachfront Grille in Flagler Beach. In addition to learning basic culinary skills, food preparation, and meal preparation, each graduate has earned the ServSafe Food Service Manager Certification, accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-Conference for Food Protection (CFP) and the National Restaurant Association.
While the Homeward Bound Program’s goal is to provide vocational skills training, the S.M.A.R.T. Program (Successful Mental Health and Addiction Recovery Treatment) was implemented to address the often-underlying issues of substance use disorders and mental illness. S.M.A.R.T was launched thanks to a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Criminal Justice Mental Health Collaboration Program. S.M.A.R.T is a 90-day evidence-based, in-custody treatment program in collaboration with EPIC Behavioral Healthcare to help inmates succeed once they are released back into the community.
S.M.A.R.T. uses evidence-based therapy curriculums and offers daily structured sessions led by an Intervention Specialist and Certified Peer Support Specialists to keep their focus on improving themselves and helping each other during their incarceration. S.M.A.R.T. helps participating inmates gain knowledge of their disorders to help them identify triggers and create a post-release recovery plan. The goal is to treat and prevent actions that could once again land them in the Green Roof Inn losing their freedom. Evidence-based curriculums include The Change Companies “Breaking the Cycle” interactive journaling; W.R.A.P.; MATRIX; and Living in Balance.
A recent graduate of the S.M.A.R.T. program stated during her graduation, “When you offer your inmates – or individuals – substance abuse treatment, mental health therapy, social skills, and job training skills, we are given opportunities of hope and healing. You are not only helping us heal and strengthen ourselves as individuals but also helping to heal and strengthen the community.”