Jeffco Jail partners with Lawson State to educate inmates

CBS 42 Living Local

This CBS 42 Living Local Feature Segment is sponsored by Jefferson County Sheriff – Mark Pettway.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (CBS 42 Living Local) – Sheriff Mark Pettway is preparing to launch an inmate re-entry program he calls “Renewed for Reentry.” 

“I’m excited about this program. So are the inmates here at Jefferson County Jail. They are ready for this program to come to fruition. This program will stop the revolving door,” Pettway said. 

Pettway has partnered with Dr. Perry Ward at Lawson State Community College. Their professors will teach the inmates vocational skills.

“We have a sheriff in place that wants to make a difference and give back to the community. And this is a great way to do it by providing educational opportunities for the inmates here,” Ward said. “Many times, inmates would not like to go back to a life of crime, but they don’t have a skill at all to support themselves.”

Judges will help choose non-violent inmates to participate in the reentry program. The inmates will be taught welding, carpentry, HVAC AND Refrigeration, and industrial maintenance.

“Education is a pathway for people to move forward in the future and really make a difference in their lives and the lives of their family and that, in effect, helps the community as a whole. So I’m excited about providing educational opportunities,” said Ward. 

Sheriff Pettway and Dr. Ward also ask the community to help support their efforts. 

“If you are looking for someone to hire, come talk to us. We will allow you to interview those that are in the program to see if they could be a good fit for your company,” Pettway said. 

“I would like to appeal to the community to please support this program. Give the inmates a chance to be successful. Give them a job. Many times he may have had a situation where they made a mistake in their lives, but they need a second chance, and this is kind of a second chance program to allow them to be successful in our community. And when they’re successful then we all are successful as a community,” said Ward. 

Visit to learn more about ways you can support the program. 

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