The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office provides certain rehabilitative and educational opportunities through coordinated community resources and grant-funded programs to prepare inmates for productive citizenship upon return to their communities.
The following programs are available to inmates at the DeKalb County Jail:
- The START Program targets inmates with felony drug abuse charges and histories of repeat offenses. Inmates may elect to join or be mandated by the courts to complete this free 90-day program, which includes an HIV risk reduction and education component, a general education development component, and a life skills curriculum designed to prepare participants for workforce entry/re-entry. After release, continued counseling and treatment are available through the DeKalb Community Service Board
- Inmate Substance Addictions are addressed through our collaborations with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), whose volunteers also conduct addiction programs at the jail.
- The DeKalb County Jail offers intermittent Vocational Education classes to inmates through a partnership with Goodwill Industries. Participants train for 10 weeks to learn specific work skills, which have included electrician’s helper, HVAC, and commercial maintenance, along with resume writing, interview skills, and budgeting.
- General Education Development (GED) and Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes are administered by Georgia Piedmont Technical College every week inside the jail. Inmates in START or AA/NA programs without high school diplomas may attend GED classes. The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office covers the costs for GED testing.
- The Chaplaincy Program renders spiritual, motivational and emotional support. Inmates receive ministry each week from more than 80 in-house volunteer chaplains representing the various faiths and religious denominations of DeKalb County’s uniquely diverse population. The Chaplaincy Program also serves the needs of DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office employees, upon request.
- Inmates who qualify can join our Inmate Workforce that performs various labor tasks, including facility and equipment maintenance. Sentenced inmates at the jail can request assignment but must be approved. Participation can reduce incarceration time. The program is estimated to save the county more than $1 million annually for services that would otherwise be provided by contractors.
- The court-ordered Work Release Program helps some inmates keep their jobs while incarcerated. In cooperation with DeKalb State Court Judges and the DeKalb County Probation Office, the jail houses inmates with jobs who are allowed to continue to report to work but must reside at the jail.
- “A Bridge to Opportunity and Personal Success,” is a Life Skills program designed to develop self-esteem, and provide knowledge in good personal relations and skills needed to seek and obtain employment after release. Staffed by highly trained community volunteers the program is a component of the START program but is open to other qualified inmates.
- Persons sentenced to community service rather than incarceration are directed and supervised by the sheriff’s office in a joint venture Alternative Sentencing Program with the DeKalb County Probation Department. They complete weekend work details throughout the county but are not housed in the jail.