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Life skills course helping Boone Co. inmates get back on track

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Inmates who are behind bars at the Boone County Jail are now being offered courses to help them handle life after jail.

The program is called Life Skills Course. It is divided into four sections. Each section is about 6 to 8 weeks long. Inmates learn parenting, anger management, resources available to them after jail and how to prep for jobs. The program has been offered at the jail for four years.

“I hate to waste potential of people and I hate to just say well, they’ve been in jail, so let’s put them over here,” Nancy Hendrickson said.

Hendrickson is a retired teacher and the jail educator.  She volunteers her time to this program, inviting guests to speak. Volunteers aren’t paid.

Wednesday, Trinity Lutheran church minister Scott Mauch spoke to several classes about volunteering opportunities.

There are 134 inmates housed at the Boone County Jail, waiting for their trials to bin. The inmates face charges for everything from battery to dealing meth. Every inmate has the opportunity to enroll in the program.

“I just decided, you know, when I first got here that if I was going to be here that I wanted to do everything I could to better myself,” Jacquelyn Wood said.

Wood, 27, has taken several sections of the course. She did not expect it would impact her life this much.

“What was a shameful thing, really turned into a life altering journey for me literally. God used this in my life to really change my life. Its been changed in a way that, life, it never will go back,” Wood said.

Hendrickson said the program means a lot to her and she is glad to help other people.

“The reason we kind of put this together was, if they’re going to have a shot then, we have to make sure they get started right,” Hendrickson said.

The program is paid for using commissary funding, state funding and some taxes. It does not dip into property taxes, though.