Dekalb County Sheriff works to reduce recidivism, takes inmates to church to offer ‘real’ transformation

DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – The Dekalb County Sheriff is working to help county jail inmates turn their lives around for good by allowing those who wish to attend church services to be monitored.

Sheriff Nick Welden says it makes a big difference in reducing the number of repeat offenders.

“You know, hey, you can only get one type of transformation for sure in life…it’s not in jail, it’s not in a rehab clinic or any type of mental institution or whatever… The only kind of real transformation you can get is from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” says Sheriff Nick Welden.

Sheriff Welden says he wants to give his inmates the opportunity to experience church on a regular basis. Dekalb County Jail houses an average of 300 inmates. Welden says they switch groups or blocks of inmates so everyone has the opportunity.

“If they’re here and they want to go, we want to get them somewhere,” says Welden.

Dekalb County Jail inmate Sherry Freeman says being an inmate can feel isolated, but walking through the doors of the church renews her hope. She says she is grateful for the efforts Sheriff Welden and his office have made to give people time to connect with their faith.

“When you’re here you feel really detached from humanity and just to be able to go out and be with church people and have human contact, it makes you feel alive and accepted,” Freeman says.

Welden says his office has been transporting inmates to church services for the four years he’s been in office, and they’re noticing a drop in the number of repeat offenders.

“There is only one true transformation and that is Jesus Christ and that is what this is about. It’s not about me, it’s not about anyone here, it’s about glorifying the Lord and that’s just the way we do it,” Welden said.

Freeman says she wished other prisons would implement similar programs so people like her could experience the same kind of unconditional love.

“When you’re here you’re broken, most people who come here are on drugs and are just broken when they arrive. And they have no hope. And just for someone to have a little faith in us, that helps change for real,” Freeman says.


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