Jimmy Dyer feels right at home when he is cooking up meals in the kitchen.
“There are 300 meals that come out of this kitchen a day,” said Jimmy Dyer who is an inmate at the Grundy County Jail.
From chopping vegetables to baking chicken, Dyer loves to cook, but at one time he says he loved something else.
“I did things, broke laws and did things I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t been on it,” said Dyer.
Dyer says after breaking his neck in an accident he was prescribed pain killers, but then became addicted and that is when his troubles landed him in the Grundy County Jail and having to answer to Sheriff Clint Shrum.
“Just like everyone else we have the problem with the opioid epidemic,” said Shrum. “Probably in 2010 and 2012 is when we started to see this surge of opioids of people doctor shopping pill milling and it affects people in these rural areas.”
Shrum has a simple plan, get the inmates help and keep them out of jail.
“They are here, they are trying to get past it,” said Shrum. “The lucky thing for them is we have some programs that can help them past it.”
Alicia Shadwick is in charge of the pre release re-entry program at the jail. Her job is to work with the inmates who were dealing with addiction, but now look to get clean.
“What we do is work with inmates that are here about 78 percent openly admit to using the opioids. so we work with them to give them guidance they need,” said Shadwick.
From offering courses to finish their GED, to anger management and classes that bring out the inmates creative side, Shadwick says the courses give them structure and help them keep their minds busy on positive things.
“It is a lot of good structure that we needed that we did not get early on in life,” said Dyer.
So how is the program working since it started in 2015?
“I am still in contact with the ones who have been released so far none of them have come back to jail, which is the end goal,” said Shadwick.
This is a goal that Sheriff Shrum hopes current inmates in the program take note of.
“At the end of the day it is a conscious decision whether they want to stay off it. we can get them cleaned up, but it is their decision if they want to stay clean.”