By: Lanetra Bennett
June 20, 2017
QUINCY, Fla. (WCTV) -- Inmates in Gadsden County are starting a new life before they're even released from jail.
Tuesday, they graduated from the Gadsden Second Chance Re-Entry Program.
Sheddrick Nealy was one of the graduates. He said, "It was a great experience. It was very educational to learn different things about growing plants and the way they form and photosynthesis. It's a great feeling."
Twelve inmates completed the program. It's a partnership with FAMU's Research and Extension Center.
Inmates learn horticulture and landscape maintenance. For the first time in the program, they got to show off to their family members what they learned.
Using several hydroponic systems, this class grew leafy lettuce and peppers.
Vladmir Polite says the program encourages him to turn over a new leaf. He said, "It makes me feel that I need to get out and do the right thing. Don't come back, keep my face clean, and just keep going forward keeping God first."
Willie Lewis is a previous graduate who's now volunteering to help others. "It really gave me a second chance because it's opened opportunities, doors that's been opened through Ms. Annabelle that I probably wouldn't have achieved on my own." Lewis said.
This is the sixth graduating class since the program began in 2015.
The certificates help inmates get their foot into the landscape industry.