Sheriff Mann: ‘volunteers make this prison work’

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Sheriff’s office hosts volunteer appreciation day

 Furqan Muhammad, a chaplain who volunteers at the DeKalb County Jail, said his line of work is a calling. Once the guard doors close, everyone can’t handle it, he said.

 Chaplains such as Muhammad, along with the Sheriff’s Office Reserves Unit and organizations that provide volunteer services to the DeKalb County jail, were honored at DeKalb County Sheriff Jeffrey Mann’s third annual volunteer appreciation banquet April 20.

The banquet, held at the DeKalb County Jail in Decatur, was a way of showing gratitude for the jails numerous volunteers, Mann said.

 According to Mann, volunteers save the jail roughly $286,000 each year.

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 “This is to recognize and honor our volunteers. Our volunteers are extremely important. The more volunteers we have, the more programs the jail can do,” Mann said. “Our chaplaincy program is all volunteers.”

 DeKalb County’s chaplaincy program has roughly 70 chaplains, Mann said. Each chaplain gives roughly eight hours a week of volunteer service and talk to the inmates and staff.

 “The volunteers love this event. Everyone wants to be recognized for what they do and we’re happy to do it for them,” Mann said. “We hope to be able to do it more often. We really just want to thank everyone for volunteering.”

Lead chaplain Curtis Crocker Jr. delivered a speech during the banquet and thanked the chaplain program for the members’ hard work.

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Crocker said those who serve in the program believe in something greater than themselves.

Muhammad said he wants more Muslim chaplains to volunteer at the jail.

 “I see the need and you have to have something that you know is your calling. I have not been able to walk away from it. I’ve tried to walk away but I can’t,” said Muhammad, laughing. “We want to talk to inmates and get them out of prison and we want them to stay out of prison.”

 Mann said the jail can house up to 3,900 inmates. Currently the jail has around 1,750 inmates, he said. Many of the inmates benefit from the volunteers, and Bibles and books that are donated from service organizations.

 “Without the continued support of our dedicated volunteers, we would incur an enormous additional expense for inmate programs that we believe make a real difference in inmates’ lives,” Mann said.

 

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