Sheriff’s IGNITE Program Is Worth A Try To Reduce Jail Recidivism

We’re not sure how much of an impact a new education program in the Chautauqua County Jail will have in the long run – but the IGNITE program proposed by Sheriff Jim Quattrone is worth a try.

The program is designed to give inmates education, vocational training and skills to help them once they’re released from a county jail. It’s a worthwhile goal, though it’s not as if Chautauqua County officials haven’t been trying to reach that goal for years under former Sheriff Joe Gerace and now under Quattrone’s leadership.

Quattrone wants to offer basic literacy and numeracy courses as well as GED preparation and vocational training at the county jail by partnering Jamestown Community College and Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES. The partnerships mean the county shouldn’t be spending additional money on the program.

These efforts should be supported, but their success in reducing recidivism will depend entirely on the commitment of the inmates who participate and the county to implement an engaging program..

Those who take the opportunity to learn skills that will help them in the future will do well while those who choose not to take the opportunity to change their life with new skills and training will likely wind up back in the county jail. On the county’s end, we note the experience in Mecklenburg County, N.C., where Sheriff Garry McFadden said his jail has a culinary school and a barber school among its training programs. His jail hosts job fairs in an attempt to get inmates a job when they are released. We’re sure there are a lot of levels to the IGNITE program – and it’s likely the more engaged the Sheriff’s Office is with the program the more success it can have.

Like many such programs, using IGNITE is a little like throwing baloney against the wall. Hopefully, you hope that a piece eventually sticks.


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