Sheriff John Tate and the administrator of the Holmes County Jail, Captain Mike Moore, have recently implemented a faith based pod for male inmates at the jail. Even though all the women are housed in one pod they are also provided opportunities to participate in several faith based activities. Bible Studies are conducted every Monday night by women from Carmel Assembly of God, First United Methodist, First Baptist, Grace Fellowship Christian Church, Bonnet Pond Community Church, and others. Many of the women who minister at the jail are also involved in the development of the 24:7 Ministry to Women. Its purpose is to provide a safe and long- term residential recovery program for women released from prison or jail who are receptive to transformation through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Every Wednesday ladies from First Baptist Church conduct a Celebrate Recovery Class in the classroom at the jail. On Wednesday, May 17, Rev Jean Tippit, pastor of the First United Methodist Church baptized a total of 12 women who participate in the Bible studies and/or the class. One lady who was released earlier that day actually remained at the jail in order to be baptized. The facilitators of the Celebrate Recovery Class, Diane Little, Dr. Beverly Helms, and Rachel Angerbrandt, along with Velma Sasnett, Captain Mike Moore and most of the women in the pod witnessed the ordinance. Although those in attendance had observed numerous baptisms, according to several this was one of the most awe-inspiring, spirit filled and life changing events they had ever witnessed.
The Holmes County Sheriff’s department continues to make numerous drug busts which increase the jail population, but major efforts are also being coordinated and conducted by the Sheriff and the jail administrator to improve conditions at the jail. Working closely with faith based programs and other interventions, it is the hope of those in charge that the cycle of addiction can be broken, lives can be salvaged, and hearts transformed.
Long term recovery programs are needed by many of the inmates after their release from jail. Sheriff Tate, in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies in Holmes, Jackson and Washington County, is promoting the Tri-County Coalition. The coalition brings together law enforcement agencies, the state attorney and public defender’s office, the department of Children and Families, Chemical Addictions Recovery Effort, Inc., and numerous faith based groups in the three counties.