The warden of the Hall County Correctional Institution wrote an article that was recently published in the 2015 fall edition of Georgia County Government Magazine. Warden Walt Davis' article, titled "A New Direction," highlights Hall County's R.E.A.C.T. (Reentry Accountability Court Transition) program and the integral role it plays in an ex-offender's reentry into society.
The R.E.A.C.T. program, the first of its kind in the state, was implemented in 2014 and focuses on state inmates returning to Hall and Dawson counties. Programming consists of substance abuse treatment, as well as educational and vocational training. Participants also receive on-the-job experience while working with local businesses once they have progressed to the work release portion of the program. The purpose of the program is to reduce recidivism by addressing the offenders needs for substance abuse treatment, education, and employment.
"As criminal justice reform progresses, the 23 county C.I.s are facing a challenge to the traditional model of work details," Davis wrote. "In order to remain a viable part of the criminal justice system in the state, they may have to diversify their mission."
The Hall County Correctional Institute serves to meet the workforce needs of Hall County while fulfilling an obligation to the Georgia Department of Corrections by providing safe and secure housing for inmates in compliance with applicable policies. Under contract with the Georgia Department of Corrections, the institution houses approximately 240 inmates and, in return, the state pays Hall County $20 per day, per inmate, or approximately $1.7 million annually.
Hall County Correctional Institute provides an inmate labor force to the county, city, municipalities and other government agencies, thereby providing a work force at a significant savings to taxpayers. Some 40 to 50 inmate details work daily for Hall County departments, including Parks and Leisure, Road Maintenance, Resource Recovery and Solid Waste, as well as Gainesville City Public Works and Parks departments, performing a multitude of job tasks.