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News Story
Updated: 01/03/2018 08:30:20AM

Sheriff’s office program benefits animals, inmates

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KEVIN MAIN PHOTO
Josh Voy painted this logo while he was an inmate participating in the program. He was given a simple drawing on a sheet of paper, and he enlarged it and painted it on the building.

KEVIN MAIN PHOTO
Michael Monteleone cares for dogs, cats, and other animals at Animal Services. He enjoys participating in this program and says, "It's the best part of my day."

KEVIN MAIN PHOTO
Steve Nichols enjoys participating in the program. He cleans pens, feeds the animals and socializes with them. When the animals are better socialized, they are calmer when people come to visit. This increases the number of successful adoptions.

KEVIN MAIN PHOTO
James Giles is adopting a gray cat when he is released from jail. He enjoys caring for the cats and helping them find homes.

KEVIN MAIN PHOTO
Lt. Clay Kinslow, left, and Dep. Tom Sager direct the program and supervise the inmates, as they care for the animals at Animal Services. Both men enjoy the opportunity to help inmates and animals have a brighter future.

By MELISSA MAIN

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The sheriff’s office began using jail inmates to build a highly effective program at Animal Services that reduced costs and improved outcomes for both animals and inmates. After Highlands County Board of County Commissioners gave the sheriff’s office control of Animal Services in April, 2017, the sheriff’s office has implemented a program that has renovated the facility’s appearance, utilized free labor from inmates and helped inmates improve their ability to get a job after being released.

To make the facility more inviting to the public and encourage more adoptions, the sheriff’s office cleared trees for better visibility, painted the buildings, and removed the bars from the windows. Inmates also painted logos, built signs, planted landscaping, and in return, they have earned 10 days of gain time, or time off their sentences, each month for their work.

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