Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Perry County Inmate Program Catches Nashville Spotlight

LINDEN, TN (WOPC) A program designed to teach low-risk inmates a new trade has caught the eye of veteran FOX 17 journalist Dennis Ferrier.

The program, lovingly called jailbirds, pairs an experienced craftsman and former educator, Chester Ezell, with inmates looking to learn a valuable skill. The woodshop training program utilizes donated pallet wood to make furniture, wooden crafts and decorations. The products are then sold to maintain the supply resources for the program, or donated to not-for-profit causes such as benefits. 'Jailbirds' has been months in the making, including a careful vetting with state guidelines to ensure legal compliance and safety.

Sheriff Nick Weems says the program started as a 'hobby' among several inmates, and has since grown to a well organized classroom. But we don't want to tell the whole story: that's where Ferrier comes in.

The WZTV FOX 17 Nashville crew spent most of Tuesday afternoon with Sheriff Weems, Mr. Ezell and program participants, learning the true 'heart and soul' of the program.

It's more than pallets. it's people, and purpose.

Tune in Thursday evening at 9:00pm for 'FOX 17 News At Nine' to enjoy the scheduled report from Dennis Ferrier.

Photos: WOPC/Nunley