DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — The DeKalb County Sheriff is working to help inmates in the county jail change their life for good by allowing those who want to attend church services to go under supervision.
Sheriff Nick Welden says this is making a big difference in lowering the number of repeat offenders.
“You know, hey you can only get one kind of for sure transformation in life…it’s not in jail, it’s not in a rehab clinic or any kind of mental facility or anything…The only kind of a real transformation you can get is from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” Sheriff Welden told News 19.
Sheriff Welden says he wants to give his inmates the opportunity to experience church on a regular basis. The Dekalb County Jail houses an average of 300 inmates. Welden says they rotate which pod or block of inmates can attend so that everyone gets the opportunity.
“If they are here, and they want to go, we want to get them somewhere,” Welden said.
DeKalb County Jail inmate Sherry Freeman says being an inmate can feel isolating, but walking through church doors renews her hope. She says she is grateful for the effort Sheriff Welden and his office puts into giving people time to connect with their faith.
“When you’re in here you feel detached from humanity really and just to be able to go out and be around the church people and just have human contact it makes you feel alive and accepted,” says Freeman.
Welden says his office has been transporting inmates to church services for the four years he’s been in office, and they are noticing a lower number of re-offenders.
“There’s only one real transformation and that’s Jesus Christ and that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about me, it’s not about anyone here it’s about glorifying the Lord and this is just the way we do it,” says Welden.
Freeman says she wished other jails would implement similar programs so people like her can experience the same kind of unconditional love.
“When you’re in here you’re broken, most people that come in here are on drugs and are just shattered when they come in. And they have no hope. And just for somebody to have a little bit of faith in us, it helps change for real,” says Freeman.