August 13, 2020
By: Staff Report
TAMPA, Fla.- On Thursday, August 13, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office hosted a graduation ceremony for former U.S. military service members currently incarcerated who completed the Veterans Resurgence Program.
“As the grandson of a World War II veteran, I believe it is imperative that we provide these services to our military veterans who have earned them by bravely serving our country,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “I’m incredibly proud of the commitment these individuals have made to get their lives back on the right track. Graduating from the Veterans Resurgence Program is just the first step to restoring their pride and reducing the chance of recidivism.”
The Veterans Resurgence Program, launched by Sheriff Chad Chronister exactly one year ago in August of 2019, aims to help incarcerated veterans turn their lives around by offering them access to mental health treatment, group therapy sessions, substance abuse assessments, and employment and veterans services. Inmates who participate in the Veterans Resurgence Program are housed in a jail pod exclusively for veterans that is decorated with flags from each military branch and wall murals depicting soldiers.
Current inmate and program graduate Gregory Johnson said with excitement, “This literally changed my life. I mean, it has changed my life. When I walked in here, it was the atmosphere, it was just different, and just like I tell Mr. Prezi (Program Director) and I tell other people here. this is my destiny, oh my god. You know regardless of how many times you’ve been arrested, there will be a time to where you’re going to change your life.”
A total of 12 inmates were presented with graduation certificates and challenge coins by Sheriff Chronister on Thursday morning during a ceremony held inside the veteran’s pod at the Falkenburg Road Jail. A total of 20 inmates are currently enrolled in the program.
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