Perry Co. Jail implements ‘life-saving’ program

Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 3:03 PM CDT
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PERRY Co., Ind. (WFIE) - A new program at the Perry County Jail is working to change the lives of those participating.

”I’ve been in and out of the system my whole life,” Gracie Kellems, a Perry County jail inmate said. “I just want something different. I got three kids. It’s just time.”

This kind of motivation is exactly what “Quality 360 Healthcare Alliance” asks of its participants.

”Quality Correction Care provides medical, mental and addiction services to patients who are incarcerated in county jails, and so this program is the natural extension to help transition the patients out of custody and back to the community where they can be productive, contributory portion of the community,” Lisa Scroggins, the CEO and owner of Quality 360 Healthcare Alliance said.

All volunteer-based, no incentives, like serving less time, just pure motivation to turn their lives around.

”So we sit down and work with them in a group setting and a one-on-one setting to do the money management, to fill out a job application, we do anger management, we do parenting classes and spend a lot of time on basic life skills that a lot of people take for granted,” Julie Venis, the lead program director said.

For Kellems, after spending a majority of her life addicted to drugs and in and out of jail, she says she takes this program personally.

”This time it’s for me,” Kellems said. “It’s about fixing me, realizing where I went wrong. I’ve been to prison twice, and I thought I could do this for everybody else and make everybody else happy, but for me now it’s about making me happy. Me moving forward and I want to be in recovery.”

At the Perry County Jail, the program started in May and has already served 11 inmates.

”Having a skill when they get out is really important to me because my number one goal is to reduce recidivism,” Sheriff Alan Malone said. “That is a big deal to me.”

All of the inmates who volunteered have all stayed in the program since starting, such as Christopher McDaniel.

”It’s helped me realize I needed the help,” McDaniel said. “I’ve been more appreciative that I’ve been here this time, so I can try sobriety for the first time instead of going back there and continuing drinking.”

It’s a program that doesn’t stop once inmates are done serving their time, but helps hold them accountable once they’re out.

The sheriff says the program, funded completely by grants, has been so successful in the jail.

A waiting list is currently in place for inmates to join.

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