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 September 18th, 2009  
St. Lucie County inmate programs graduation is Sept. 23 at the jail

Forty-nine St. Lucie County jail inmates will graduate from self-improvement programs at a ceremony being held in the county jail Sept. 23.


“Inmates are graduating from a unique public-private partnership to train inmates to work for food service companies,” said Sheriff Ken J. Mascara. “Others are receiving their high school diplomas, and still others are graduating from a substance abuse program called “The Journey Forward,” organized by Public Defender Diamond Litty.”


The culinary program, “In-2-Work,”  is a joint venture between the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office and its jail food service contractor, Armark, Inc. The program trains carefully screened jail inmates in the art and science of food preparation. Successful graduates receive a Safe Staff certification, a three-year food handler certificate program recognized by the State of Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.


Two previous graduates of the culinary program have enrolled in the culinary program at Indian River State College. There will be 10 inmates graduating from the In-2-Work culinary program. 


There will be 28 jail inmates receiving their high school diplomas after successfully completing courses at the jail taught by staff members of Indian River State College.


There also will be 11 inmates graduating from The Journey Forward substance abuse program taught by the Public Defender’s Office. That program helps inmates with their substance abuse issues and, if needed, assists with employment through training and educational services.


Graduates of the program have a far lower rate of being rearrested than inmates who do not go through the programs


“In all these programs, we hope to break the vicious cycle of arrest and rearrest,” Sheriff Mascara said. “By providing educational, occupational and life skills training, graduates from inmate programs can take control of their lives and become productive members of society.”

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