Area sheriff boosts morale for inmates on Christmas

Published: Dec. 25, 2020 at 4:25 PM CST
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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -

On a day where folks are typically surrounded by family, some locals find themselves in a different situation; one that can be lonely this time of the year, or really any time.

“Being in jail anytime is terrible but when you’re in jail over Christmas it’s probably even that much more traumatic and heartbreaking,” Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith said.

With a little icing, candy, and gingerbread, Sheriff Smith wanted to lift inmates’ spirits.

“They have committed crimes and things like that but they’re still human. So, it’s good if you can get them some things that will maybe help them take their mind off of what they don’t have. You know, think about what they do have,” Sheriff Smith said.

A simple gingerbread house competition between inmates was met with high participation and high praise.

“We were just trying to have fun, you know. Pretty much the most fun thing we’ve done since we’ve been here,” inmate Charles Carpenter said. “We had a good time. We appreciate the Sheriff doing something different. We are in a jail, we realize that but they did try and make it a little better for us this year.”

The simple gesture also reminded inmates of happier memories.

“The first thoughts I had were my kids, made me think about my kids,” inmate Brian Kilpatrick said.

“A lot of Christmas spirit and joy for our kids,” inmate Cassandra said.

Sheriff Smith hopes activities like these serve as a reminder for inmates.

“Hopefully these things we do kind of get them to think about this is not the lifestyle I want to have. I want to be with my children, I want to be with my family, I want to be a productive part of the community,” Sheriff Smith said.

He also said the sheriff’s office isn’t here to lock anyone up and throw away the key.

“We’re here to show them that we do care about them,” Sheriff Smith said.

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