SHERIFF Rick Wells
We are extremely proud of our LIFE (Leading Inmates To Future Employment) program. I've always been an advocate of putting inmates to work. It never made sense to me to have prisoners sit around while taxpayers foot the bill for their room and board.

With the assistance of the Manatee Technical Institute, the Sheriff's Office now provides vocational training for inmates in preparation for their release back into society. I strongly believe that if inmates can find jobs when they leave jail, their chances of a return visit are greatly diminished.

The LIFE program utilizes inmate labor to not only give them job training but also to help reduce the exorbitant costs associated with running a jail. We save hundreds of thousands of dollars every year by producing much of our own food and providing other services. It's definitely a win-win situation for the inmates and the residents of Manatee County.

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Manatee Technical Institute (MTI) is proud to be in partnership with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office to provide technical and academic education for inmates at the county jail.

The Manatee County Sheriff's Office has long recognized that an under-educated and unskilled inmate will probably be a repeat customer at their facility. By working together, we have been able to provide academic classes to raise inmates' basic literacy rate and help prepare them for the GED. The Manatee County Jail is an approved GED test site where inmates can earn their high school diploma before they are released.

State and national statistics indicate that inmates with a technical skill have a lower recidivism rate than those without a skill. Because of that, MTI provides a transitional specialist to assist the student with their next step after release: a job or continued education. A released inmate with a skill earning a livable wage is less likely to make a return visit.