FLOW helps Walton County inmates get I.D.s and driver's licenses

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WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Going to jail shouldn't be a wrong turn but instead, a detour to help people get back on track, and the Walton County Jail is hoping to do just that.

"We have a lot of programs because we believe in helping make a difference in their lives," Walton County Jail Vocational Programs Manager Deann Bertram said.

One program is called FLOW, or Florida Licensing on Wheels, which helps inmates get an I.D. card or driver's license.

"I didn't even know jails did stuff like this," Walton County inmate Jennifer Cain said.

"Actually, I came thinking I was just going to get an ID, not knowing I was going to be able to get my license renewed so I'm actually pretty glad about that," another inmate, Kishwonner Williams, excitedly stated.

Paid for by a state grant, the program is free for inmates, without costing taxpayers, and makes for an easier transition back into society once they serve their time.

"You need an ID card to do just about anything these days and that's from getting an apartment to going back to school or, you know, applying for benefits," Bertram pointed out.

"A lot of people here are living on the streets or they don't have the means to be able to get an ID so being here and them offering that is actually a lot bigger than people take it for," Cain added.

Many inmates said it's programs like this that help them see the light at the end of the tunnel.

"County is kind of hard because you don't really have a lot to do here and a lot of counties don't offer things like this," Cain explained, "so it's just kind of dead time sitting here. They don't really rehabilitate you but, I don't know, this is the first time I've ever been to this jail."

"I'm actually glad I'm actually a valid driver so I don't have any more issues or have to look over my back or that sort of thing," Williams said.

"It gives them some confidence that they've lacked in the past. Just having an I.D. and being able to show a little something that they've accomplished. This is the second time this year the jail has offered this service to the inmates," Bertram said. "The idea the Sheriff believes in, let's make a difference, let's change people for the better. If they can become better people when they leave here then when they came in, then we've done our job."

Jail officials hope to continue this service on a quarterly basis.