Blackburn tours Claiborne Jail to Work program for women

Published 2:44 pm Monday, June 17, 2024

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U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn visited Claiborne County on Friday where she joined Mayor Joe Brooks, Judge Robert Estep, County Attorney James Estep and representatives from the District Attorney’s office for a tour of the McNabb Center’s Jail to Work program for women.

Blackburn said visits each county in Tennessee at least once every year.

“I really appreciate the opportunity to do that and to be on the ground and see how the counties are changing,” she said.  “It’s wonderful to meet with the mayors and find out what the counties are needing and how we can be most helpful to the process.”

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Mayor Brooks said Blackburn played a key role in helping the county to get funding for the Jail to Work Program, which has been operating for over a year.

“We were glad to host the senator today so she could learn about our jail to work program and the partnership between Claiborne County and Helen Ross McNabb,” Brooks said. “She played a very integral part in us being able to get the funding for this and we’re hoping that after today’s visit she’ll see the value in what’s being done in Claiborne County and support us in further grants to expand the program out to more services for women and, hopefully one day to expand those services to men as well.”

The McNabb Jail to Work program is a reentry program for women incarcerated in the Claiborne County Jail. It provides mental health treatment, work skills, parenting, communication, anger management and life skills to help aid those ladies in fighting their substance use and mental health needs.
Modeled after McNabb’s successful program in Hamblen County, the facility houses the women for 12 weeks and offers them the support from case managers, therapists and the McNabb continuum of care, Services Coordinator Raneika Greenlee said.

“The ladies live in this space for 12 weeks and during that time they have access to trauma informed care, substance use treatment and mental health counseling,” Greenlee said. “We provide their housing, their clothing and food. They have access to any resource that McNabb has to offer.”

After completing the 12 weeks in Claiborne County the women are transitioning to “Phase II” housing in Hamlen County where McNabb partners with local manufacturers to help them obtain employment.

McNabb is working to build a Recovery Home in Claiborne County right across from the Jail to Work building. An old house on the property has been torn down and bids have been received for a contractor to build the new Recovery Home. Work should begin soon, though there is not a current time frame for it to be completed.

“Being able to have a jail to work program to assist women in recovery and then have them stabilize and move to a recovery home, that is something that is so exciting for the community and so needed,” Sen. Blackburn said after touring the facility. “I love seeing this program and hearing of their success. Programs like this change lives. It changes the life of the person that has been afflicted with addiction and also the lives of their families.”