June 18, 2012
On June 8th, Fort HealthCare teamed up with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department to offer jail inmates a chance to participate in a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training course. CPR is a combination of chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth assisted breathing used to restore oxygen in a person who has stopped breathing. Corinna Bindrim, the American Heart Association Coordinator at Fort HealthCare, worked with Sheriff’s Deputy Tina Blake and Sheriff Paul Milbrath in providing this first time opportunity to the inmates.
Sheriff Milbrath is optimistic that CPR training will have a positive impact on the jail residents. “I believe that knowing how to save a life will help instill a sense of community among the inmates and help them to feel that they have a greater purpose in life than being an inmate. Certainly, it will help them develop greater self-worth and build their self-esteem.”
Milbrath suggested that the opportunity for an inmate to someday save a life could be a very positive outcome not only for the victim of a life-threatening situation, but also for the properly trained inmate and the families of all affected by the life-saving effort. “The partnership with Fort HealthCare is a significant contribution to this goal,” he added.
Bindrim volunteered her time to instruct the CPR class and concurs with Milbrath’s remarks. “CPR training allows the inmates to be proud of something and feel successful during a time when there isn’t much to be pleased about. If one of the students eventually has a life-saving event, it carries so much positive weight and can dramatically affect their lives.” All of the inmates that attended and passed the class will receive certification cards from the American Heart Association.
The Jefferson County Jail has been expanding the number of educational programs offered to inmates. These new programs began with the hiring of jail social worker Jennifer Wendt and with the guidance of Sheriff Milbrath and Deputy Blake. Blake, along with volunteers from the Jefferson County Literacy Council (JCLC), have organized other programs offered to inmates. These programs include: “Smart Recovery,” “Surmounting the Barriers in a Challenging Job Market,” resume writing, interview skills and preparation, and health workshops. Blake and members of the JCLC have also invited guest speakers. The speakers represent various organizations and causes such as PADA (People Against Domestic & Sexual Abuse), the Jefferson County Health Department, Fort HealthCare, Opportunities, INC., and Community Action Consulting. Social issues addressed included alcohol and other drug abuse, drunken driving and physical and emotional abuse. A panel of victims impacted by both drunken driving and abuse spoke to the inmates.