BCSO partners with AMIkids to offer young inmates a chance to get a job when they are released

Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 7:17 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Nearly two years ago the Bay County Sheriff’s Office teamed up with AMIkids Panama City Marine Institute to help young inmates with vocational reentry training.

“It is not just coming in and providing a class and a certificate, the staff at AMIkids helps them when they get out of jail, having the necessary documents that they need, helps them with interviews with employers, actually linking the inmates up with employers,” Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said.

The program is funded through a grant from the Federal Department of Labor and is offered to inmates aged 18 to 24.

The program offers classes, certification, and training in food service and construction.

The goal of the program is to help prepare inmates for employment and success once they leave the jail.

“We want to get them in the workforce as quickly as possible so they can start earning a paycheck and become self-sufficient... we help them with all the little things to make that transition as smooth and as successful as possible,” AMIkids Panama City Marine Institute Executive Director Ron Boyce said.

Adam Detunno, who went through the program at 24 tells us he is so thankful he had the opportunity while he was in jail to get his life back on track.

“I am grateful for them, they helped fill stagnant time in an environment that is hard to develop or progress in, but they helped a lot,” Detunno said.

Sheriff Tommy Ford said the program has had outstanding success.

“We are just proud of the partnership that we have, and it is changing lives and our goal of somebody if they do have to come to jail, we hope we are able to provide them with services in there so when they get out, they don’t have to come back,” Sheriff Ford said.

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