Began the first jail re-entry program in Northwest, TN.
• Government Efficiency
• Parole Eligibility
• Reduced the Dyer County jail population from 110% capacity to 91% capacity
• Reduced overall recidivism rate from 60% to 47.1% during his time in office.
"We wanted to take these offenders that we had been programming, and we wanted to change their environment and let them know that they were on the road to change.”
-Sheriff Jeff Box
Immediately after being elected sheriff of Dyer County in 2010, Jeff Box began to recognize several significant problems facing the justice system in his county: jail overcrowding, a recidivism rate of 60 percent, and a high number of repeat drug offenders. Over the course of the next seven years, he strategically addressed these issues through strict enforcement and the implementation of various programs. The programs produced remarkable results, both in the jail population of Dyer County and in the community at large, thanks to increased community involvement in the rehabilitation of the inmates.
In 2011, Sheriff Box began to address the issue of overcrowding by establishing the Sheriff’s Jail Re-entry Program. The program focused on reducing recidivism rates in the Dyer County Jail by providing vocational training for inmates. Box understood that such training would allow inmates to rediscover their place in society by giving them a chance at purpose and productivity in their work.
He also overhauled the jail’s treatment program to help inmates with substance abuse problems, specifically methamphetamine offenders, break the cycle of addiction and incarceration. Sheriff Box’s jail now incorporates moral reconation therapy (MRT), drug and alcohol education and anger management programs. These additions to pre-existing programs were all approved by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health.
In 2015, Sheriff Box allowed inmates to work alongside his own staff to renovate the old Dyer County jail into a 30-bed TCI (Tennessee Corrections Institute)-certified facility. Once the renovation was completed, Sheriff Box moved the Sheriff’s Jail Re-entry program from the main prison facility to this new location. By creating this separate facility, Sheriff Box distinguished his program from other programs like it. This Re-entry Program is located apart from the rest of the incarcerated population–a detail significant enough that the inmates themselves notice it, and which demonstrates both to them and to others that they are on the road to change.
Additionally, Sheriff Box partnered with the Northwest Tennessee Workforce Development to establish a work center within the Dyer County Jail, known as Sheriff Box’s Jail2Jobs program. Similar to a Tennessee Career Center, it offers workshops in basic skills, such as resume writing and interviewing. It also conducts the Certified Production Technician Program, which prepares inmates to work skilled technical jobs after their release. These jobs are provided by a partnership between the sheriff’s office and local government and industries. Once released, inmates undergo a trial supervision period at their jobs, giving them the real-world experience they need for a successful transition.
Lastly, in his role as superintendent of the Workhouse, Sheriff Box collaborated with the Dyer County Legislative body to form a Workhouse Board of Commissioners. The Board of Commissioners helps the sheriff’s office find work for inmates and assists inmates with other crucial aspects of their transition back into society, such as helping them earn their driver’s license, deal with any debts, and develop an ethic of personal responsibility.
The combined effect of these various programs–and the hard work of Sheriff Box to help create and coordinate them all–reduced the recidivism of Dyer County Jail from 60 percent to 47.1 percent further increasing Public Safety in his county.