Dougherty County renews drug abuse class for inmates

Completing the course successfully results in a shortened length of stay in jail / File

The Dougherty County Commission renewed a contract Monday that will keep in operation a program aimed at providing drug abuse education for jail inmates.

It's difficult to find an inmate in the Dougherty County jail who isn't there on drug-related charges. Through a combined contract with the county and the Albany Area Community Service Board, the jail provides a drug abuse education program.

"In many cases, it's court ordered, they have to go through as part of their sentence," says jail Director Col. John Ostrander.

But others volunteer for the classes. And there's an incentive to taking them.

"Inmates who successfully complete the program qualify for additional earned good time credit, which reduces their length of stay," says Ostrander.

Reducing their stay and hoping they won't be back.

And by reducing recidivism, it's good news not just for the inmates, but taxpayers as well since they're the ones shelling out $50 a day to keep inmates here at the jail.

In a fiscal year, the number of reduced sentences saved taxpayers over $400,000. And the class equips inmates with tools for living a productive life after jail.

"And there are so many of these folks that went into prison with a drug issue both by selling and or using, are coming out now able to get a job and able to work," says Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard.

More good news--taxpayers aren't even paying for the course. The money comes from fines collected from the offenders. Paying for the education they likely wouldn't have gotten anywhere else.